New Delhi: The All India Football Federation`s (AIFF) bid to host the 2017 U-17 Football World Cup received a major boost on Monday as the central government gave its approval which was conveyed through a letter to the AIFF, dated 19th September by Union Minister of Sports, Ajay Maken.
“It gives me immense pleasure to inform you that the Government supports the possibility that FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 may be staged in India,” Maken said in the letter.
“Also, the Government supports the presence of FIFA and of any FIFA member associations in India in connection with the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017. The Government will also support all efforts that envisage the hosting and staging of FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 and those that contribute to the development of football in India," he added.
Meanwhile, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, during his visit to India had mentioned that the AIFF needs to meet the criterion laid out, if they want to host the event.
“Obviously, the infrastructure will have to be top class, the six venues needed for the tournament will have to be the best. We need security guarantee from the government and then guarantee for accommodation, transport and airport facilities," Valcke said.
However Valcke had also expressed FIFA`s desire to allow India to host the event in order to support football in the nation.
“I sincerely hope that India qualify for the 2022 World Cup. The developmental office will have to play a big role in that. Their bid to host the U-17 World Cup is also being taken seriously and I hope they succeed there as well. We will help as much as possible."
The AIFF had, in a letter dated February 1, 2012 asked the government for the guarantees needed to host the tournament. Maken said the proposal of the AIFF was examined in the sports ministry in consultations with various other ministries/departments.
“A detailed communication on the guarantees sought by AIFF is being conveyed to the General Secretary of the AIFF, separately, by my department.”
The final decision on who gets to host the tournament will be taken in the FIFA executive meeting on December 14 in Tokyo.
First Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 08:35