New Delhi: With an aim to raise the profile of the sport in the country, the All Indian Football Federation will bid for the Under 17 World Cup in 2017, a top official said.
In the AIFF Executive Committee meeting in September last year, its president Praful Patel had expressed the desire to bid for the under 17 World Cup in 2017.
This was after FIFA director for Member Associations and Development Division, Thierry Regenass, mooted the idea for India to host the tournament in 2017 or 2019 to give a huge impetus to the development of infrastructure.
AIFF vice-president A R Khaleel said that the national body is serious in its bid to host the Under 17 World Cup, which, if awarded by the FIFA Executive Committee, would be the biggest football event in the country.
"India is going to bid for the Under 17 World Cup in 2017. But it will be a long process and the AIFF will have to take permission from the government. It will be a long process," Khaleel said.
Started in 1985, the U-17 World Cup is a 24-team and 52-match tournament held every two years. United Arab Emirates will host the 2013 edition while the 2015 event will be held in Chile.
Khaleel said a maximum of five venues would be enough for hosting the tournament.
"Four or five venues will be enough and it can be held across the country. We have Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi, Banglaore Football Association Stadium, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai and Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata where the matches can be held. So we have the infrastructure," he said.
FIFA development office, Shaji Prabhakaran, said the event, if awarded to India, can bring a seachange to the sport in the country.
Guetemala and Jamaica have also declared their willingness to host the event.
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