India is all set to host the FIFA Under 17 World Cup come October this year with 24 teams competing in a tournament spread across 6 venues. This is the first ever global FIFA tournament being held in the country and on Tuesday, the All India Federation (AIFF) has submitted an expression of interest to host the Under 20 version of the FIFA World Cup to be held in 2019.
While the preparations for the Under 17 World Cup continue in full swing, the AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel stated that hosting another event of this magnitude would be next logical step in the development of football in India. The move to express interest in the hosting of the Under 20 World Cup wil not come as a suprise to many with the President having earlier stated the desire to do so while speaking to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizing committee for the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar.
The Under 20 World Cup follows the same format as the Under 17, both being a biennial affair with 24 teams participating.
Afrer submitting the expression of interest, Mr. Praful Patel said "With India hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 this year in October, we feel hosting the U-20 World Cup would be the best way to sustain the footballing momentum in India. Even though the event was held earlier this year in Asia in Korea Republic, we would be happy to discuss with FIFA about the possibility of hosting the event in India in 2019”.
This move will be welcomed by football lovers in the country with quality international competitions going a long way in raising the profile of the game in the country.