Vastavam web: World football governing body chief Gianni Infantino on Friday described the FIFA U-17 World Cup as a “resounding success” but refrained from giving any commitment on India’s bid to host the U-20 World Cup in 2019.Infantino, who addressed the media after the FIFA Council Meeting here, declared a football continent and said that FIFA will continue to work with India to continue the momentum generated by the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup.The way the (FIFA U-17) World Cup has been perceived by the people of India has been amazing,” said Infantino during a media conference.
“Having seen the U-17 World Cup in India, I can say that it was worth allotting this to India. There was very good competition among teams and attendance was amazing. Not only the U-17 World Cup record, it can even break the all time attendance record in an U-20 World Cup which is 1.3 million spectators in the 2011 Colombia edition.” “This is for the 2019 U-20 World Cup. After that we are planning to merge the U-17 and U-20 World Cups into a bigger one, the format will be changed to 48 teams competing and held annually. So, a big country like India can think of hosting a huge event like this alone or co-host with some other smaller countries,” Infantino said.
He said after 2019, there will be only one youth World Cup which will be either U-18 or U-19.The All India Football Federation has submitted India’s bid to host the U-20 World Cup so that the momentum of hosting a successful U-17 World Cup is not lost and India continue to remain engaged at the global stage.”Of course, we need to cherish the build-up generated by the success of this U-17 World Cup. Taking Indian football forward is, I know, a complex task and it is not easy. I commend the work done by the AIFF. It is not about hosting an event or a show but it is about building a legacy, putting the football culture to the heads on Indians.
“For example, there was shift of the venue of the semi- final from Guwahati to Kolkata and the ticketing system broke because of the hundreds of thousands of making request for tickets. This is nothing but true Passion for football,” he said, when asked whether he will coined a new word from the one he had said recently that India is a “passionate giant”.