India’s bid for the U-17 World Cup short on time

Indian government officials wary of placing the bid given the trouble endured after CWG scams, AIFF facing stiff competition from established rivals in bid...

India’s bid for the U-17 World Cup looks to be in tatters as they continue to delay putting in an official bid, even with FIFA’s and the Union Ministry’s backing. Meanwhile, the competition looks to capitalize and seal their respective bids with Ireland, South Africa and Uzbekistan having already placed bids for the tournament due in 2017.  

India’s bid for the tournament needed to have been received by FIFA by the end of October, however, that looks evermore doubtful now. The deadline for submission of the bids for the tournament is 15th November as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) it seems, is in need of FIFA’s assistance in approving the bid itself, so that all matters regarding mandatory guarantees can be put forth to and altered by the world governing body, if needed.

It is understood that the sports ministry was in the process of deliberating with the cabinet secretariat on the issuances of these guarantees, sought by FIFA, which is necessary for the bid to be processed.

Security, foreign exchange remittance, protection of the FIFA logo, overall income tax exemption and a host of other collaterals are required to be included in the bid document to FIFA and implemented by the State as well as the Union Government during the tournament.

“The sports ministry and the new sports secretary want to expedite the process by seeking the cabinet secretariat’s approval instead of going back to seven or eight Union ministries involved in issuing the guarantees. But if the secretariat now thinks a cabinet meeting must be called, we would be pressed for time,” explained an anonymous AIFF official, to The Hindustan Times.

After the Union Cabinets approval, several ministries had been contacted to ensure their ability and code in providing the guarantees mentioned. To this extent it has been revealed that Union Minister and the Indian FA’s president, Praful Patel, had appointed personnel in ensuring no lag occurred in speeding the ministries on their decision.

A legal team also visited Zurich, to explain to FIFA why certain guarantees couldn’t be undertaken by the central government but by certain states, after which FIFA edited and altered certain conditions to fit the bill. 

After receiving the go ahead from different ministries in this regard, the Sports ministry tried to confirm if all the rest of the ministries were comfortable in going ahead but unfortunately nothing has received the green light since. To compound matters further, PK Deb, the sports secretary recently retired and left his replacement, Ajit Sharan, in charge of the issue.

“It seems the bureaucrats are cagey about putting pen to paper on such a big event in the light of the numerous scams related to the CWG. FIFA handed the Under-17 World Cup on a platter to India. If for some reason, India doesn’t get it now, FIFA wouldn’t think of offering an event here in the next 10 years,” elucidated a sports administrator, who wasn’t in tow with either the sports ministry or the AIFF, yet had insight on the matter.


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