Manchester: India will bid to organise the under-20 World Cup in future to go with its hosting of the U-17 World Cup in two years' time, All India Football Federation's (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das said here.
"Going forward we will be bidding for the under-20 World Cup, that is a natural progression," Das said during the Soccerex convention, adding that staging the mega-event in 2017 would lead to an increase in football's popularity in the country and boost infrastructure.
The U-20 tournament is held every two years and South Korea will host the 2017 edition.
Das again stressed on the need to merge the traditional I-League and glamorous ISL in future.
"At some point we have to have one league, which will be profitable, which will be economically sustainable. We are working on it. We are talking to all the stakeholders. It will take some time. It is difficult to clearly outline when that will happen. But it will happen," Das said.
The eight-team Indian Super League, which claims to have the world's fourth-biggest attendance after the English, German and Spanish leagues, starts its second season next month.
Das said that the existence of two leagues was "a problem, but a good problem to have".
It was learnt that Indian officials told the conference that the country is also looking to train thousands of home-produced coaches to generate interest in the game.
During the convention, there was a discussion on Indian football titled 'India: The Time Is Now'.
Speaking on the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup Das said, "The AIFF is launching a campaign called 'Mission 11 Million' which intends to engage at least 11 million youth around the beautiful game in the country. This campaign plus our belief that India's U-17 squad can compete with some of the top countries in the world, makes me confident that the Indian football landscape will begin to transform over the next few years."
Former Mumbai City FC head coach Peter Reid said, "The passion for football in India is massive. No matter where you go in the country, people love the sport and create an electric atmosphere. There is plenty of talent all over the country and properties like the Indian Super League and FIFA U-17 World Cup will only speed up the process to help India reach new heights in building the sport."