AIFF Media Team
It’s official — India will host the 2017 U-17 World Cup! The decision was taken at the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting which was held on December 4 and 5, 2013 at Sauipe Fun Hotel, Salvador de Bahia, Brasil. The FIFA Executive Committee decided to hand India the hosting rights ahead of Ireland, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts South Africa.
|(From left) Thierry Regenass, Mr. Joseph Blatter, Mr. Praful Patel and Mr. Jerome Valcke pose at the FIFA Headquarters|
“Hosting a Tournament of such a stature will also help galvanise the face of Indian Football among the masses and youth of the Country. At the moment, Football is popular in certain pockets in India. With the U-17 World Cup taking place, I strongly believe that the popularity will swell overnight and the mission of making Football a pan-India sport will be realised,” Mr. Patel stated.
“I cannot sum it up in words what this means to Indian Football,” an elated All India Football Federation General Secretary Mr. 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 Mr. 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,” Mr. Das added.
The Tournament in which 24 Teams would be taking part will be held in six venues which are to be selected from eight prospective venues — 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 eventually won by Nigeria U-17 when they defeated Mexico U-17, 3-0 in the Final. The next edition is slated to be hosted in 2015 in Chile.
Since its inception in China, 2002 FIFA World Cup hosts Japan, and South Korea and United Arab Emirates are the other three Asian Countries to have hosted the U-17 World Cup so far. However, Saudi Arabia are the only Asian Country to have won it, back in 1989.