Kolkata: West Bengal government on Wednesday agreed to handover the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) following its request to develop it into an international-standard venue to host the Under-17 FIFA World Cup to be held here in 2017.
"Done," Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee replied instantly when AIFF president Praful Patel requested Banerjee to handover the Stadium to the AIFF.
Patel was present at the felicitation programme of ISL-winner Atletico de Kolkata by the state government here.
"I am happy to announce that we are ready to handover Rabindra Sarovar Stadium to AIFF. It's my dream to see (U-17) World Cup football being held in Kolkata. We have beautified the area around Rabindra Sarobar, a national lake," Banerjee said.
Patel congratulated Banerjee's gesture saying that the decision of the state government would help AIFF to develop the required infrastructure.
"I want football to have its revival and that can happen only in Kolkata under the leadership Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee," Patel said, adding that there would be a series of soccer tourneys to be held in the city.
India would host the Under-17 soccer World Cup in 2017 and AIFF would bid for both the Club World Cup and the Under-20 soccer World Cup scheduled in 2018 and 2020 respectively, Patel said.
Suggesting that a world-class football stadium could also be developed in Rajarhat New Town near the city, Banerjee requested the ATK owners to look into the venture while the state was ready to provide it land for the purpose.
"We are ready to give land in Rajarhat to build a football stadium of international standard. Let us prepare the infrastructure for the Under-17 World Cup tournament from now," Banerjee said.
ATK co-owner Sanjiv Goyenka immediately accepted the Chief Minister's proposal.