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Uncertainty looms over India`s chances of hosting U-17 WC

New Delhi: India`s chances of hosting the 2017 Under-17 football World Cup is shrouded in uncertainty as the FIFA recently rejected the government`s letter that was forwarded to the world governing body by the All India Football Federation.

Though the AIFF is yet to come to a definitive conclusion as far as chances of organising the prestigious event is concerned, the FIFA strictly maintains that it will not give the green signal unless and until it is assured of a few "guarantees" from the Indian government.

"The government`s letter has been rejected by FIFA, they are asking for some guarantees from the government. We have then written to the government and they rejected it initially but we convinced them and sent the letter again, requesting them to go through it once again," said AIFF general secretary Kushal Das.

"FIFA is asking for guarantees like securities, tax, broadcasting, etc...We will get to know by March," Das added.

When contacted, the Sports Ministry said that FIFA wants some specific formats to be followed.

"There are some 17-18 items that FIFA wants to be included. So we have got in touch with about 8-9 ministries and they, in turn, have compiled everything and sent it to AIFF. But we are yet to get a response from the AIFF," Sports Secretary P K Deb said.

FIFA`s next executive committee meeting is scheduled to be held in March in Zurich. In its last executive committee in Tokyo last November, FIFA did not discuss India`s bid for the tournament.

Even though the AIFF had submitted its bid within the deadline after getting the approval of the central and state governments, FIFA`s general secretary Jerome Valcke, during his visit to India last year, had warned that the country will not get the prestigious event if it fails to meet the strict criteria.

The AIFF will have to ensure world-class infrastructure if it wants to stage the event as Valcke had reiterated that there will be no compromise on infrastructure and organisational aspects.

If it happens, the event will give the sport a major boost in the country.