Patel to push for U-20 World Cup bid at FIFA council meeting
Kolkata: All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel, who has been invited to the world football governing body FIFA's council meeting to be held here on Friday, will look to make the most of the opportunity by pushing for India's case for hosting the Under-20 World Cup in 2019.
"I will use all the goodwill in my and India's command to good use when I address the FIFA council where I have been invited as the hosts," Patel told reporters at the FIFA U-17 World Cup wrap-up press conference.
The final composition of the FIFA Council will consist of 37 members: one President, elected by the FIFA Congress; eight Vice-Presidents and 28 other members elected by the member associations - each for a term of four years.
Patel said FIFA president Infantino has invited him to the meeting. Infantino arrived this morning and is the state guest of the West Bengal government. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will host a dinner for the FIFA chief. Infantino, who was accompanied by a 35-member delegation, will also attend a programme along with a host of former footballers at Eco Park.
On October 28, the FIFA boss will hand over the glittering U-17 World Cup Trophy to the winner of the summit clash between England and Spain at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Patel had earlier said that the country had made a formal bid to host the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup and expected the current U-17 team to be part of that tournament too. Jaime Yarza, head of FIFA tournaments, said India is "almost" ready to host a senior World Cup, let alone the U-20 World Cup.
"These are almost (senior) World Cup level stadiums, not only U-20 World Cup level stadiums. In every aspect, they can host major event. If the development goes on like this and they do good work, I think infrastructure wise they have the ability to host any major event. There is one picture LOC has not sold yet. That is "Proud to be Indian." They should be proud."