Anyone worried the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India (2017) won’t run smoothly need not to stress any more. FIFA, along with the All India Football Federation (AIFF), has earmarked $38 million in resources to ensure the marquee event will run as planned.
With India being referred to as the ‘sleeping giant’ of football, the success of the U17 World Cup will go a long way in cementing India’s international role in the sport.
“For the U-17 World Cup in 2017, FIFA officials have told us that they have kept around $38 million for organisational purpose only,” said Subhas Chopra, AIFF vice-president.
While football is clearly not a new sport to India, this rejuvenation of the sport is special. The country watches the English Premier League (EPL) as if it’s its own, but has had very little domestic success in establishing football leagues. The Indian Super League (ISL), which will model itself off the EPL, is expected to help football return to the top.
“Blatter [FIFA president] is very committed to helping India stage a successful tournament and we are getting a lot of support fromm the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) also in this regard,” Chopra added.
Excited by the recent development, Indian legends – including IM Vijayan – have made public comments noting how valuable the World Cup will be for India. The goal, of course, is to have an international platform to prove that India is, in fact, the ‘sleeping giant’ of football.