The All India Football Federation (AIFF) formally flagged off its preparations to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
One of the most important events of the FIFA calendar, the tournament marks the start of a football revolution in the country and is an important step towards changing the future of the sport in India. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) has been working for the past one year to deliver the most professionally organized and transparent mega event ever hosted on Indian soil. More than ten detailed inspections have already been conducted in stadiums and training sites across the country, and six venues have been shortlisted for preparation and development.
Extending his support, the President of Asian Football Confederation, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, said: “We will continue to provide help and assistance for the successful staging of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. In keeping with the desire to ensure it is a world class event we have also awarded the AFC U-16 Championship 2016 to the All India Football Federation. This will help with the preparation and staging of the World Cup a year later.“
In the words of the President of AIFF, Praful Patel, “This is a defining moment for Indian football. We need to grab this opportunity to take the game to its next level in India. It is the first World Cup that we will host and the first time that India will play in a World Cup, which makes this tournament the single most important Event in Indian football history. Our tournament will be broadcast to over 200 territories. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase India’s sport, culture, cities and organizations across the globe.”
The event also witnessed three generations of legendary Indian football captains, Chuni Goswani, Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri passing on the mantle to Amarjit Singh, the captain of the Indian U-17 World Cup Team.
The icons expressed their full support for the tournament and deemed it as the game changer for football in the country.
With 24 countries playing 52 games, the tournament matches are currently scheduled to be played across six upgraded venues around the country – Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda in Goa, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata, Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi, Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati and DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. FIFA will make two more inspections visits in 2016 to evaluate the progress and status of each stadium.
(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)