New Delhi: Ahead of FIFA's ceremonial handover of the 2017 U-17 World Cup to India, the country's Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday assured full government support to the world football governing body and AIFF for a successful conduct of the mega event.
FIFA will entrust India with the mantle of hosting the third most important event on the world football calendar at the closing ceremony of the 16th U-17 World Cup in Chile.
Sonowal said, "I urge all stake holders of the tournament to come together as a team and put their best foot forward to make the tournament a grand success. I also assure the complete support of our government for the first ever football World Cup in India."
With an estimated global audience of about 200 million viewers from almost 200 different countries, this is the first truly global sports competition on Indian soil.
The All India Football Federation looks upon this as an important step towards building the sport in India. With 24 countries playing 52 games, the tournament matches are scheduled to be played across six world-class FIFA certified venues in the country.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, "We are proud to host the third most coveted international football tournament in the world and the biggest ever in Indian history.
"This is a matter of national pride and it will help create world class infrastructure, bring in professional planning and execution and deliver the best possible tournament to India's football lovers. We see this as the onset of a 'Football Revolution' in India."
AIFF president Praful Patel said, "This is historic.
Hosting a tournament of such a stature will help galvanise the face of Indian football among the masses and youth of the country."