India to host U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017
FIFA in a watershed moment for Indian football, has awarded the rights to host the 24-nation 2017 'Under-17 World Cup' to India. India outbid 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa, Uzbekistan and Ireland to win the hosting rights for the biggest soccer tournament to be staged ever in India.
- It will also be the first FIFA event ever to be held in India.
- UAE has hosted the 2013 edition of this biennial event while Chile will stage the 2015 event.
- The first edition: 1985 in China.
- Began as a competition for players under the age of 16 with the age limit raised to 17 from the 1991 edition onwards.
- It will help in building some real football infrastructure in a country paving ways for hosting other big FIFA tournaments.
- Provides chance to advertise the nation's strength and potential to the football-mad world (much like what China showcased with Beijing Olympics)
- Its good for development of the football in India which languishes under the shadow of cricket.
- Will help the game to get rid of problems like cash-crunch and general apathy.
- Will inspire a new wave of enthusiasm in the game helping the soccer in India gain a foothold of its own
The only time India qualified for FIFA World Cup (but did not play):
- It was FIFA World Cup 1950 being held in Brazil.
- Many traditionally strong teams reeling from the after-effects of World War-2 withdrew their participation.
- This automatically rendered India which was put on stand-by 'as qualified' (by default).
- Unfortunately the AIFF, unable to understand the significance of the mega-event, decided against going to the World Cup despite the fact that FIFA was ready to bear a major part of the travel expenses.
- Current champions: Nigeria
- Most successful: Nigeria with 4 titles (1985, 1993, 2007, 2013)
- Brazil second most successful team with 3 titles
- Asia has won just 1 tournament so far (Saudi Arabia in 1989)
India in world football:
- India's present FIFA ranking of 148 speaks volume for its impact on world football
- Best Ranking: 94th place in February 1996
- Worst Ranking: 169 in September 2012
Others awarded Hosting Rights:
- Under-20 World Cup 2017: South Korea
- women's Under-17 World Cup 2016: Jordan
- Under-20 women's World Cup: South Africa
FIFA president: Sepp Blatter