Valcke is also upbeat about India's chances to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup and assured the full support of FIFA in helping AIFF fulfill their aim of playing in the 2022 World Cup.
In one of the most important agreements made during FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke’s visit to India, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) inked a deal with the global governing body for football under which strategical and technical support will be provided to the AIFF.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) shall give a boost to India’s dual aim of hosting the 2017 U-17 World Cup, as well as fulfilling their aim of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“It’s mostly about management, strategy and technical development for the future of (Indian football),” Valcke said.
The AIFF has to submit the necessary bid files for hosting the 2017 U-17 World Cup by September 26 this year and Valcke is upbeat about the event being held in India.
The Frenchman said, “FIFA believes if there is one country in Asia that we need to focus, it is India. The U-17 World Cup would be a perfect milestone.”
“The (FIFA) executive committee will meet on September 26 and 27 and then again in December. We have to receive all the files by September 26.
“We would ask the executive committee to let India host the U-17 WC in 2017. FIFA takes care of large part of finance except the infrastructure for such tournaments,” he continued.
Valcke further stressed, “The best way to promote India is through hosting the U-17 World Cup, as the focus of all the countries will be there.
“What we will do is to work with the AIFF to make sure that you have strong structure so that you play in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, that’s the real objective,” Valcke further added.
The FIFA General Secretary also strongly emphasized on the need for strong infrastructure and said, “You cannot build a national team playing in the World Cup without having strong U-17, U-19 and U-22 teams.”
Praful Patel was also excited about the AIFF potentially getting the nod to bring the U-17 World Cup to India.
“India wishes to host the U-17 World Cup in 2017 in India. AIFF made a comprehensive bid document and it’s almost complete. It is complex as it involves so many states, ministries and departments.
“We will be making a formal presentation to FIFA. It has to be decided by FIFA’s overall committee. India’s strong bid and its commitment to various developmental projects in the country would make it a strong contender,” he said.
The AIFF President lauded FIFA’s commitment towards India. “It’s an important visit. Football in India is poised for the big league after many years of hibernation. We have always been ably supported by FIFA and AFC. FIFA’s commitment to development of football has been strongly visible in last few years.
“It has gone out of its way to see Indian football emerges as a big footballing nation. Few months ago, President Sepp Blatter was in India. To have Valcke coming a few months later demonstrates FIFA’s commitment to India. “
“‘Win in India with India’ project has started to gather momentum but it’s going to be a long time before India come up to the expectations of the fans. But we are certainly on the right track,” he said.
Quizzed about India’s plans to host the next Club World Cup, Patel revealed, “It has not been shelved, it is very much there. FIFA executive committee has to decide on the first tournament (U-17 World Cup).”
Valcke added that the bidding process for the 2015 and 2016 Club World Cup will open in early 2013 and also nipped in the bud the speculation regarding changes in the World Cup format to change the number of places available in the competition.
“The current format is not going to change in the near future. The number of countries in each confederation and the level of football are taken into consideration,” he concluded.
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