New Delhi, Dec 5 :
India were Thursday awarded the rights to host the 2017 U-17 football World Cup. The decision was taken at the FIFA executive committee meeting held Dec 4-5 in Brasil.
India won the hosting rights ahead of Ireland, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts South Africa. The meeting was held at Sauipe Fun Hotel, Salvador de Bahia.
“This is historic. This is what we have been waiting for. I need to thank the FIFA executive committee for keeping their trust on us and granting India the rights to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup,” All India Football Federation president Praful Patel told www.the-aiff.com.
“I am also grateful to the government of India for their support and giving us the necessary guarantees which made it possible for India to bid for the 2017 World Cup.”
“Hosting a tournament of such a stature will also help galvanise the face of Indian football among the masses and youth of the country.
“With the U-17 World Cup taking place, I strongly believe that the popularity of the sport will swell overnight and the mission of making football a pan-India sport will be realised,” Patel said.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das too thanked FIFA and Praful Patel and said the entire country had been waiting for this moment.
“I cannot sum it up in words what this means to Indian football,” an elated Kushal Das said.
“The entire country has been waiting with bated breath for the final decision to be taken.
“I would like to thank our president Praful Patel for bringing the U-17 World Cup to India. Without him we wouldn’t have got the clearances from the government of India and the hosting rights. I’m extremely grateful to FIFA for their support and encouragement,” Das added.
The tournament in which 24 teams would be taking part will be held in six venues to be selected from eight prospective cities – New Delhi, Goa, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup kicked-off in 1985, the first edition being hosted by China. It began as a competition for players under the age of 16 with the age limit raised to 17 from 1991 onwards.
The last edition of the tournament was hosted by the United Arab Emirates, which was won by Nigeria when they defeated Mexico 3-0 in the final.
The next edition will take place in 2015 in Chile. (IANS)