India has formally put in an official bid to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019, AIFF president Praful Patel announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in New Delhi, Praful Patel said: “We hope through conducting this tournament and with the FIFA executive committee in happening India (Kolkata, from October 26-28) we will be in a position to convince the FIFA of India’s ability, enthusiasm and commitment for hosting such games (U-20 World Cup). We certainly feel the time has come.”
Assurances of India’s readiness and preparedness came thick and fast from the AIFF president.
“Five out of six venues are already handed over to FIFA and the one in Navi Mumbai will be handed over on Wednesday. The infra-structure is
world-class,” stressed Patel.
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He said India will soon have a world-class national centre of excellence. “We have not shortlisted the location but it is in advanced stage. We are setting up a national training centre of excellence which will be the home of the Indian national team, junior and women’s team,” said Patel.
He said there is a possibility of FIFA lending its support for the project.
“We should have a permanent facility for everything — from physical training to swimming room to classrooms to mental conditioning. We are in talks and I don’t want to go beyond that at this point.
“It may cost us upwards of 100 crore (INR). Hopefully, we will get FIFA supporting us in this initiative as much as we will reach out to private sponsors. It would have at least a couple of fields so that there is enough space. We want to host it in a place where there is more competitive sport available because you can’t be putting it in the backwaters.
You won’t get teams to play competitive games,” he stated.
“A lot of talks are at an advanced stage and it is not yet finalised. As soon as the World Cup is over, we will announce the location. We hope to commence the work as early as 2018 so that it is ready in an year and a half,” he added.
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