Singapore bidding for FIFA Youth World Cup

FAS have announced that talks are underway with FIFA to hold either the U17 or U20 World Cup in the near future
Speaking at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Annual General Meeting (AGM), FAS President Zainudin Nordin announced that talks to hold an edition of one of FIFA's Youth World Cups is underway.

The plans to host the tournament will 'enhance Singapore's reputation as a venue for international events and also add another dimension to our sporting culture' explained Zainudin.

FIFA currently holds the U20 and U17 World Cups every two years with the latest editions scheduled for this year. The 2013 U20 World Cup was held in Turkey from late-June to July while the 2013 U17 World Cup will take place in UAE in October.

Zainudin revealed in his opening address that FAS have already begun talks with FIFA over hosting. The earliest that Singapore could host either the U17 or U20 World Cup will be in 2019 as the deadline for submitting a bid to host the 2017 edition closed in May 2013 and Singapore is not amongst the final list of applicants.

17 countries, namely, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, England, France, Korea Republic, Mexico, Poland, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia and Ukraine have applied to host the 2017 U20 World Cup, while Azerbaijan, India, Ireland, South Africa and Uzbekistan are in the running to hold the 2017 U17 World Cup.

The 2015 U20 and U17 World Cups will be held in New Zealand and Chile respectively.

"Our experience in hosting the inaugural editions of Asian Youth Games in 2009 and Youth Olympic Games in 2010, coupled with the successful hosting of several high-profile international events such as the 117th International Olympic Committee Session and the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Singapore during the past few years, has given us confidence that we could and should aspire to host key football-related events including a FIFA age-group competition sometime in the near future," said Zainudin in a media release.

"We humbly believe that Singapore has the capabilities to host such events which will help to further raise the appeal and popularity of sports, including football, in Singapore.”

Zainudin also announced that Singapore will see a return of the Merlion Cup once the new Sports Hub opens early 2014.

The Merlion Cup was an annual invitational football tournament hosted by Singapore from 1982 to 1986. Invited teams in the past had involved international teams as well as clubs.

A 1992 edition saw South Korea 'B' winning the competition while participants included China, Singapore, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Nitra, Poland Olympic team, Thailand Olympic team and Malaysia.

The Merlion Cup was last held in 2009 at the old Kallang National Stadium as a one-off match between the Singapore national team and Liverpool, with the Reds claiming the trophy.