'Government is committed to hosting the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India' - Indian Sports Secretary P.K. Deb

The Secretary of the Sports Ministry stressed that the Government is ready to grant all the tax-exemptions requested by FIFA...
Though India has not been outstanding in the international arena for the last three decades or so, football has been a hit with the nation, especially the European leagues have generated a lot of viewers interest. The government official hence remarked that they are eager to cater to the taste of the ever increasing fan-base of the game, by tabling a strong bid for hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup of 2017.

The Sports Secretary of the nation, P K Deb today told an audience at the FICCI Goal 2013 convention that the government is ready to grant all the tax-exemptions demanded by FIFA. The world's football governing body had asked the All India Football Federation to provide guarantees on tax exemption, security and accommodation of players, officials and other international stakeholders connected with the holding of the gala tournament.

AIFF had already sent FIFA a draft, routed via the Sports Ministry, which was rejected by the world football authority citing lack of guarantee in some specific areas. The AIFF is now busy preparing another draft which is expected to clear the confusions. The new one will be sent to FIFA after the government gives its nod.
FIFA had wanted a blanket tax exemption for the whole event, which would include all the earnings of the various international stakeholders, including the broadcasters and sponsors.

According to Deb, the Government is fine with all the claims, but also insisted that the global body will have to apply to the Government and the due process would have to be followed, to avail the exemptions.

“We are committed to India getting the rights to host the 2017, Under-17 FIFA World Cup and we will do whatever we can can in that regard. We are committed to it,” Deb said at the ‘Goal 2013’ convention on the business of Indian football in New Delhi.

“All the exemptions wanted by the FIFA are covered under Indian laws. But FIFA will have to apply to the government for that. It is a matter of applying for the tax exemptions. The government is ready to grant them,” he added.

AIFF President and Cabinet Minister Praful Patel remarked that he will take the necessary steps, to ensure that the much coveted youth championship is held in the country. He stressed that he will consult the concerned ministries to prepare a modified draft, which would be presented to the global body.

“I am going to meet the Sports Minister and other ministers also. We have to make certain changes and present it to FIFA. I hope the government agrees with what is wanted by FIFA. Otherwise this will be a lost chance for us to host the 2017, Under 17 World Cup,” he said after delivering the inaugural address to the convention.

“I had a meeting with FIFA chief Sepp Blatter and General Secretary in Switzerland recently and I had re-iterated India’s commitment to hosting the event. FIFA wants India to host the event to increase the profile of the game in the country,” continued Patel.

However, Deb revealed that his ministry has not yet received any new draft from the AIFF.

“We don’t know what transpired between Praful Patel and the FIFA chief ,and we have not received any new draft or proposal from the AIFF. But from our side we will do whatever we can, as we want India to host the Under-17 World Cup,” he said.

The Sports Secretary also told that they are waiting for an official communication from the International Olympic Committee on the proposed meeting among the IOA, IOC and the government representative.

The sports secretary even disclosed an ambitious plan taken up by the government to set-up the required infrastructure for Olympic sports in the country. “Our target is that in 10 years from now, we can be among the top 10 medal winners in the Olympics and (be considered) amongst the sports powers,” he added.

Deb also invited the corporate sector to invest in the Sports sector on a large scale.

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