New Delhi: Amidst the ISL fever prevalent among the country's football fans, an ambitious India are also eyeing to host the glamorous FIFA Club World Cup. "We will decide in the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in December in Morocco for 2015-16, 2017-18 Club World Cup," said FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke at a function held in the national capital on Wednesday.
With India set to host the U-17 World Cup in less than three years time, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is also gearing up to bid for hosting the prestigious U-20 World Cup. (U-17 World Cup: FIFA, Government Assure Help to AIFF)
"We will bid for the U-20 World Cup. Initial steps have already been taken, besides we will also bid for 2017-18 Club World Cup," said an optimist AIFF President Praful Patel.
Lauding India's efforts in bringing football in the global map, the FIFA Secretary-General expressed satisfaction over the progress made by India in their lead up to the U-17 World Cup slated to be held in 2017.
"I am not seriously concerned about the organisational progress and U-17 World Cup will be the cherry in the cake for the business partners," Valcke said.
However, FIFA also put forward a word of caution for the football fraternity that only a good show in the U-17 World Cup will ensure the 'sleeping giant' getting the coveted U-20 World Cup.
"If India succeeds with U-17 Football World Cup, then it can move for U-20 World Cup. Lot will also depend on the quality of U-17 football team," FIFA Secretary-General said.
Asked whether India will be granted special favour or not, Valcke stated that the entire thing will depend upon India and how they strategise their bidding project.
"FIFA bidding process is an open system. India had won U-17 World Cup as it was the best project. India will also need a strong bid for Club World Cup and U-20 World Cup,' he said.
However, Valcke acknowledged the fact that winning bid for the U-20 World Cup will be quite a challenging one for India as it is a much more professional event than the U-17 edition and noticed by the world as some of the brightest stars of football emerge out of the event.
Speaking about the size of the stadiums which will be hosting the U-17 World Cup, Valcke said ideally it should not be huge barring the one that will host the final as empty stadiums are bad for players and TV viewership.
"It would make sense that stadiums for U-17 World Cup should be about 20,000 to 30,000. But we are not pushing for huge stadium, we have never been. The final though can be staged in a bigger stadium," he said.
The top footballing body of the country is also expecting the government to lend a helping hand in building the infrastructure.
"We hope that the government will respond. Infrastructure is a crucial issue," Patel said.