India to present U-20 World Cup candidature to FIFA Council


India will make a formal presentation to the FIFA Council to strengthen it claims for the rights to host the FIFA U-20 WC Finals. The presentation will be made by the All India Football Federation president Praful Patel.

India’s prime focus during the FIFA Council meeting in Kolkata will be to strengthen the case for hosting the Under-20 finals as the body meets in Kolkata. The nation has already boosted the prospects of getting another FIFA event with grand success of FIFA U-17 Finals in India.

Patel has said that “we would try to make good use of the goodwill India has gained by successfully hosting the Under-17 World Cup” when he would 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 has told media in Kolkata.

Patel said the invite comes from the FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who arrived in Kolkata on Thursday along with a 35-member delegation for the Council meeting.

India had already submitted a formal expression of interest to FIFA couple of months ago for hosting the U-20 WC Finals. AIFF president has been insisting all along that he will try to convince the world body about India’s candidature. The fact that last U-20 World Cup was held in South Korea, FIFA might find it difficult to award the second consecutive U-20 Finals to another Asian country. That remains the major block for India’s chances to get the second FIFA event.

Patel has 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 around the country. The AIFF president said that football needs to have a pan-Indian ecosystem in order to be successful.