AFC backs India’s bid for Under-17 World Cup

The Union Government had cleared AIFF’s proposal, but India’s governing body for football is yet to submit guarantees to FIFA, risks losing bid to competitors...

India’s bid to gain the rights to host the Under-17 World Cup in the country was given a major boost when the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the continent's governing body for football, backed the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) bid to bring the tournament to Indian soil. However, this could be jeopardized if they fail to submit the necessary documents on time.

“The AFC is fully backing India for the bid to host the Under-17 World Cup. It will help India shoot to the top and provide encouragement to youth. The tournament will help create plenty of excitement in India,” explained AFC general secretary Alex Soosay, to The Times Of India, in Kathmandu.

What is perplexing though is that the AIFF haven’t submitted the proposals and guarantees to FIFA, to host the tournament, even though the quantum list of ideal has been cleared by the Union Government of India.

The Indian FA must get their act together and submit the guarantees before the deadline of 30th September or risk losing the Under-17 event to the likes of South Africa, Uzbekistan, Indonesia or Ireland, who have already submitted their proposals, approved in tandem by their governments.

The FIFA guarantees mentioned afore, detail special rights vested on the tournament which includes tax exemption, security, visas, foreign exchange and transport to list out a few.

“Knowing how the Government functions, we might as well have to wait till the last moment. Our first bid was rejected (in January) due to insufficient assurances from the Government. The guarantees are a must and without them, India can forget the World Cup,” expounded an AIFF official.

India’s bid to host the tournament has received stupendous backing in the form of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who elicited that India was the “sleeping giant” of global football and has huge potential though conspicuously no other official shares his sentiments.

“We have urged FIFA to support India. India needs a major tournament like this to catapult to the top,” clarified Soosay.

“Given my position on the FIFA Executive Committee, I don’t think I will comment on this until we have seen the files from candidates,” stated FIFA executive Committee member and President of the United States Football Federation, Sunil Gulati.

Dubai has bagged the rights for the tournament in 2013 while South American powerhouses Chile have been granted the Championship host rights for 2015.  

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