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Home » Sports » India to bid for 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup

India to bid for 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup

BANGALORE: Football in India has seen a positive surge in recent months – whether it was Lionel Messi and the La Albiceleste who played an international friendly in Kolkata or the Bayern Munich squad taking part in Bhaichung Bhutia’s farewell match in New Delhi early this month. Now with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) deciding to bid for the 2017 U-17 World Cup, the future of the sport is set for a meteoric rise.Confirming this decision, AIFF vice-president AR Khaleel told TOI that India will be 100% ready in terms of infrastructure and as a host, five years from now. “We have good stadiums in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Kochi and Kolkata. We also have the Sree Kanteerava Stadium and the Bangalore Football Stadium, the latter being one of India’s finest. Five years from now, I am 100% sure we will be ready to host the event. It will be a big fillip for Indian football,” Khaleel said.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said the bidding documents and hosting agreements have to be prepared and submitted to FIFA within a couple of months. “FIFA’s executive committee will meet in Zurich on March 31 and we have to submit our bid in time. By the first week of April, we are sure to know if we have won the bid to host the event,” Das told TOI.

Jamaica and Guatemala have also expressed interest as hosts but Das said he was confident India will secure the bid.

As far as Bangalore is concerned, Khaleel – who is also the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) president – assured the city will not be found wanting on the infrastructure front. “The artificial grass at the stadium is better than the one at Salt Lake (Kolkata). The work on the FIFA International Academy is 50% complete – only the interior work needs to be done and we are sure it would be ready by May or June this year. The three wings of the stadium will also be renovated in time, so I see no impending issues,” he said.

The U-17 World Cup, which began in 1985, is a 24-team and 52-match tournament held every two years. The 2013 edition will be hosted by UAE while Chile has been granted the 2015 edition.

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