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FIFA U-17 World Cup - India Have A Platform To Build On: FIFA

Even as the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup gears up for the final match day on October 28 in the City of Joy, FIFA’s Head of Tournaments Jamie Yarza believes the country is ready to host another global event, and soon.

Abhimanyu Sen | News18 Sports

Updated:October 26, 2017, 7:02 PM IST
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FIFA U-17 World Cup - India Have A Platform To Build On: FIFA
President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Praful Patel (L) and Head of FIFA Tournaments Jaime Yarza at a press conference ahead of the final of the U-17 FIFA World Cup at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium in Kolkata (Getty Images)

Kolkata: Even as the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup gears up for the final match day on October 28 in the City of Joy, FIFA’s Head of Tournaments Jamie Yarza believes the country is ready to host another global event, and soon.

Speaking to the media at the majestic Salt Lake Stadium, Yarza pointed out that the Local Organisation Committee comprised only one person who was not from India and that there were more than enough people, at least 500 who would know how to deliver a football World Cup.

"All the stadiums that have been used here are good enough to be used in Senior World Cup. The facilities in India are top class, to the extent that some of the teams found it to be better than back home. India can host a major event pretty soon."

When quizzed about the matter of having to move the semi-final from Guwahati to Kolkata due to poor conditions, Javier Ceppi, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee for the FIFA U-17 WC India 2017 pointed out that they had exhausted all their options in the process of sorting out the matter.

"When there is such volume of rain for such periods, no drainage system can really help retrieve the ground conditions in a matter of three days. If there was a full week to work with, then the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium would probably have been ready, but it was not possible to make things fall in place."

Ceppi, recollected that when he began working in India on this tournament, one of the first things he learnt was the culture of 'jugaad' and added that was also the first thing he did away with. The man who brings to the table experience from have organised previous World Cups also, added that even though there had been a lot of challenges, there was nothing he would do differently.

Alongside Yarza and Ceppi, was the AIFF President Praful Patel, who expectedly was extremely happy with how the tournament has played out.

"India has arrived at the world stage and the conduct of the games is a true reflection of that fact. “This success only points out that if we can host the U-17 World Cup we are ready for other FIFA tournaments as well. I need to thank the stake holders and FIFA," said Patel with a beaming smile.

The tournament which has two more games yet to be played has seen a record 174 goals scored so far after 50 matches.

Not just that, if all the people who have bought tickets for the final match day do eventually make it to the Salt Lake Stadium, the attendance is expected to cross 1.31 million through the course of the World Cup, which would then mean the 2017 World Cup would be the most attended FIFA Youth tournament ever.

There has been a total of 1,224, 027 people who have attended the World Cup in India according to the Local Organising Committee, which is 6000 less than China in 1985 which saw 1,230,976 people in the stands.

When asked if the Local Organising Committee would have done anything differently in the build up to this tournament, Ceppi pointed out that there was nothing really that he would have done differently even though they had experienced their fair share of bad days.

“Ïf anything we would have liked to bring 48 teams to this World Cup instead of the 24 we did because then it would have allowed us to stay back longer in India,” signed off FIFA’s Head of Tournaments Jamie Yarza.

Even as everyone awaits the big final on Saturday, there is the other matter of the on-going FIFA Council meet which is being chaired by none other than the FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Kolkata.

AIFF President Patel who is part of FIFA’s Finance Committee has been invited to address the gathering on Friday.

“Even though the U-17 World Cup is yet to end, and there is a lot of time before a decision is taken on the hosting rights for the U-20 World Cup in 2019, I will use all my goodwill and hope to tilt the bid in India’s favour,” Patel concluded.

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| Edited by: Arnab Sen
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