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The government has given India's bid to host the U-17 World Cup the green light having provided guarantees that would meet FIFA's basic requirements.

India's bid to host the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 was approved by the government today. The government's approval comes as a boost for the country's chances of hosting the tournament which is already backed by FIFA vice-president Jerome Valcke.

Speaking exclusively to Goal, the Secretary of the Sports Ministry, P.K. Deb said, "Yes, the cabinet has approved India's bid for the U-17 World Cup. Now the ball is in AIFF's court. We have given all the guarantees and now it's upto them to submit a bid to FIFA."

India's first bid in January this year was rejected on the grounds of insufficient assurances from the government. Given that FIFA required guarantees on tax exemption, security, transport and accomodation of players, visa and foreign exchange, India's bid has since been clouded by uncertainty.

However, the government's backing has laid the foundation for a strong bid. "The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to the proposal for submitting guarantees sought by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) from the Government of India for their bid to host the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Under 17 World Cup Football Tournament in 2017 in India," a statement issued by the Sports Ministry said.

While the expenditure for upgradation of stadia (Rs.95 crore) will be provided as additional central assistance to the State Governments, a sum of Rs. 25 crore is kept as a contingency to ensure smooth conduct of the tournament. AIFF and FIFA have agreed to bear the entire expenditure of hosting the tournament. The amounts required are to be raised through sponsorships and other commercial agreements.

The proposed Under-17 World Cup would encourage more youngsters to participate in sports and also help develop the sport of football in the country. It will also promote tourism in the country. The event also has a lot of importance from the point of view of playing technique, training, coaching and competition exposure, etc., especially at under-17 level, and thus would be good for the future of football in India.

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