Another first for the Indian football, as the team India jersey for the U-17 FIFA World Cup will become a part of official FIFA merchandise. To create an authentic fan experience and spread the excitement before any FIFA tournament kicks-off, the world governing body synchronises a dedicated retail programme to accelerate the event.
As India is the host and also for the first time a participating nation in a FIFA tournament, the India team jersey becomes a part of the official merchandise.
“The tournament itself has attained so much hype and has become bigger than any other junior tournaments organised by FIFA. So, we decided to include the merchandising as part of our blending process,” Joy Bhattacharjya, project director, LOC, FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, told insidesport.co.
“We are committed towards making this tournament a memorable and a successful part of the India football landscape. For every fan, it will be a new experience and will mean a lot,” he added.
The official licensing partner is also an Indian Company, Dream Theatres, which started its sports licensing business for the first time with FIFA World Cup 2014. The company also holds the rights for the next FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia in 2018.
“It will add value to Indian football. It adds to the loyalty factor,” says Shaji Prabahkaran, former FIFA regional development officer. “Indian (football) fans look for India jersey. Unfortunately, fans don’t get Indian football jersey anywhere. Once, it’s available it will be in demand. It does add a value to the sport. Since, India is participating in a FIFA event (under-17 World Cup), the world governing body has the rights. It is good that they will be making it available.”
While, Nike holds the All India Football Federation apparel rights and also the merchandising rights, this move by FIFA will be a big boost for the Indian football and a majority of Indian fans will look forward to get their piece of memorabilia.