‘FIFA is extremely keen to hold the under-17 World Cup in India’

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Photo Courtesy: the-aiff.com
Photo Courtesy: the-aiff.com

Where does this place India on securing the World Cup bid?

It is a very important step because unless FIFA got the guarantees required, it would not have been a valid bid. FIFA is extremely keen to hold this event in India and also to develop Indian football but it required guarantees from the government, which we now have.

What are the assurance and guarantees, which we can now submit to FIFA?

It is a guarantee from the Central government that there will be adequate security, that tax exemptions would be given to the event among 6-7 other assurances FIFA wanted. It created a bit of problem earlier as the government didn’t normally give such guarantees for a sporting event. I think it’s a huge step that the government has agreed to give these guarantees and we now have a very good change of winning the bid.

What about the Rs 120 crores that is further needed? Is the central government supposed to pitch in the amount to develop our stadiums?

That will happen, this is the money that has been set aside for upgradation of the six venues, which will be decided on. We have got eight cities that are interested in hosting it; final decision on the six venues will be taken once we have successfully got the meeting.

Earlier you had mentioned that the last date for giving these assurances was 1 March 2013, which inevitably got delayed. After the government’s approval today, by when can we expect a final decision on the bid?

The final decision will be taken by FIFA and it is expected to be out by the end of the year. We have to give the formal guarantees on paper to them. The government could take a little bit of time for that process but India now stands a very good chance to secure the bid.

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