First time in India: Bengal to host FIFA executive committee meet
Kolkata: Kolkata will be hosting the council meeting of FIFA's executive committee that is going to take place for the first time in India.
The executive committee meeting is going to be held on 26, 27 and 28 October in the City of Joy in which more than 300 FIFA delegates from its headquarters in Zurich are going to attend.
After meeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nabanna on Thursday, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel said: "It itself is a big achievement for Indian football and their decision to hold the council meeting in Kolkata in India shows the volume of importance FIFA is giving to the country."
He further said that all the elected members of the FIFA executive committee will be coming to Kolkata to attend the council meeting.
Patel on Tuesday came to meet the Chief Minister at Nabanna and also inspected the venue – Swami Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Kirangan – of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup that is going to commence from October 6.
He added that the Bengal government will be hosting the FIFA executive committee for a day and as far as sources said, it will be on October 26.
He also said that the Bengal government is extending all support to organise World Cup and the entire facility and infrastructure that has been developed for the international event by the government is "beyond expectation". It may be mentioned that the state government has undertaken an overall renovation of the venue and taking all necessary steps for the promotion of the event.
Patel said: "Discussions about the infrastructure that has been developed and other arrangements for the Under-17 World cup has taken place with the Chief Minister."
He also held a meeting with the state Youth Services and Sports minister Aroop Biswas, the state minister of state for Information and Cultural Affairs department Indranil Sen and other concerned senior officials.
He said that everything is in track and all necessary steps are being taken so that the event can be organised smoothly.
When asked whether there will be any festival, Patel said that FIFA didn't organise any opening festival. But there will be a prize giving ceremony on the final day of the tournament in Kolkata.
The football fever in Kolkata will be reaching to its peak during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Since the event is going to take place soon after the biggest festival in the state – Durga Puja — the Chief Minister has urged all Puja organisers to display footballs in front of their respective Puja mandaps to promote the event. At the same time, the state government has also decided to distribute footballs bearing logos of the Under-17 World Cup in schools, local clubs and police lines.
India eyeing FIFA Under-20 World Cup
Kolkata: India is bidding to get the opportunity for hosting the FIFA Under-20 Football World Cup that is scheduled to be held in 2019. Praful Patel, the AIFF president, said: "The formal application to get the opportunity to host the FIFA Under-20 Football World Cup has already been put in and we are hopeful that India will get the opportunity to host this event as well after Under-17 Football World Cup." He said: "I have informed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard and she assured all help to organise the Under-20 World Cup as well." According to veteran football players, such events are extremely helpful to improve the quality of football in India. So there should always be attempts to host such events one after the other.