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Centre okays U-17 World Cup bid

Statesman News Service |

statesman news service
NEW DELHI, 13 JUNE: India’s prospects to host the Under-17 World Cup football tournament in 2017 brightened significantly with the Union Cabinet today giving  its approval to the proposal for submitting bank guarantees sought by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) from the government of India for their bid.
 The FIFA Under 17 World Cup is a prestigious event and would be held in India for the first time if the AIFF succeeds in its bid. The AIFF has proposed holding matches in Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka and one among Assam, Goa and Kerala.
 While the expenditure for upgrading stadiums (Rs 95 crore) will be provided as additional central assistance to the state governments, Rs 25 crore is kept as a contingency to ensure smooth conduct of the tournament. AIFF and FIFA have agreed to bear the entire expenditure of hosting the tournament. The amounts required are to be raised through sponsorships and other commercial agreements.
 India’s  chances of organising the tournament are already being backed by FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke. Till now uncertainty loomed large over India’s bid as FIFA needed guarantees on tax exemption, security, transport and accommodation of players, visa and foreign exchange.
 India’s first bid was rejected in January due to insufficient assurances from the government.
 But with the government today giving the green signal in providing guarantees that would meet FIFA’s basic requirements, it has paved the way for a strong bid.
 The proposed Under-17 World Cup would encourage more youngsters to participate in sports and also help develop the sport of football in the country. It will also promote tourism in the country.
The event also has a lot of importance from the point of view of playing technique, training, coaching and competition exposure, especially at the under-17 level, and thus would be good for the future of football in India.
New entrant
The new  entrant to the I-League, Jindal Vijayanagar Steel (JSW) today  said  that it was committed to improving the standards of the league.
The All India Football Federation last month ratified the decision of the Bid Evaluation Committee to provisionally clear JSW (based in Bangalore) and Mumbai Tigers ( Mumbai) to play in the 2013-14 edition of the I-League
According to JSW CEO Mustafa Ghouse, football is one of the fastest growing sports in the country with an ever increasing fan-base. As football lovers, there was always a desire to be associated with the sport. The bidding process initiated by All India Football Federation was an interesting one and it provided us an opportunity which we were keen to explore.
 "Commercially speaking, there’s enormous potential as far as the I-League is concerned. We appreciate the efforts being made by AIFF. At the same time we are optimistic that we can do our bit as well to simultaneously increase the standards of the I-League and our team” he added.
About the philosophy of JSW, Ghouse said, "Sports stay an integral part of our culture and we have been promoting it at the youth level for long. We intend to carry forward the same philosophy”.