Praful to push for hosting Under-20 World Cup

Published - October 26, 2017 09:59 pm IST -

Praful Patel

Praful Patel

India’s lone point of interest in the FIFA council meeting happening here on Friday will be pushing its bid to host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2019.

The All India Football Federation president, Praful Patel, said he would try to make “good use of the goodwill” India has gained by successfully hosting the Under-17 World Cup when he addresses the FIFA council as a special invitee as the host president.

“I will try to make good use of the goodwill in my and India’s command when I address the FIFA council where I have been invited,” Patel said in a news conference here on Thursday.

Patel said the invite comes from the FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who arrived here on Thursday along with a 35-member delegation for the council meeting. India has submitted a formal expression of interest to FIFA a couple of months ago and the AIFF president has been insisting all along that he will try to convince the world body despite the fact that the last U-20 World Cup was held in Asia (South Korea).

Jaime Yarza, head of FIFA tournaments, said the country is ready to host another FIFA tournament, considering the fantastic infrastructural development that has happened in the last few months.

“The stadiums which have come up here are almost of World Cup. India should be proud of for whatever it has achieved so far in terms of infrastructural development and fan support,” Yarza said.

Though not declared officially, India is on the verge of breaking the record attendance in any of the youth World Cups (U-17 and U-20).

Patel also said that India looks to sustain the interest generated around football by bringing up a Centre of Excellence, which will be accommodating the elite performers of the senior, age-group and the women’s team.

The AIFF is also looking to “handhold” FIFA in the development plan, which also includes bringing up six academies in the country.

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