World football governing body FIFA on Friday said that it wants India to host the Under-17 World Cup to raise the profile of the game in a huge market but warned that the country will not get the prestigious event if it fails to meet the strict criteria.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that India will have to satisfy the strict requirements for hosting the Under-17 World Cup and if the country fails in providing them, the event will go to another nation.
"Obviously, the infrastructure will have to be top class, the six venues needed for the tournament will have to be the best. We need security guarantee from the government and then guarantee for accommodation, transport and airport facilities," Valcke said.
"At the end of the day, for those young players taking part, this will have to be 'the' tournament for them. It does not matter where it is being held. So naturally, if India fails to satisfy the strict criteria, it will not host the event," he added.
Valcke was addressing reporters after a round table conference organised by International Football Arena, which was attended by the visiting FIFA delegate, AIFF and club officials, experts, mediapersons and business representatives.
FIFA had signed a 10-year agreement with the AIFF on September 5, covering management strategy, technical development and the strengthening of clubs and the I-League.
Valcke said that there will be no bending of rules for India to host the 2017 Under-17 World Cup but added that FIFA will be involved in India's bidding for the event.
"There will no change in rules and it will be normal bidding process with countries competing. But we want the Under-17 World Cup to go to a country where the game can be developed from the grassroot.
"India is a huge football market. A country of 1.2 billion cannot lag behind in football. We see the event as the perfect platform for the development of infrastructure and grassrrot development. We want to make football the number two sport in India in ten years," he said.