The government today gave the go-ahead to India's ambitious bid to host the U-17 Football World Cup in 2017, thus boosting the country's chances of organising the tournament that is already being backed by FIFA Vice President Jerome Valcke.
"The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to the proposal for submitting guarantees sought by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) from the Government of India for their bid to host the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Under 17 World Cup Football Tournament in 2017 in India," a statement issued by the Sports Ministry said.
Till now uncertainty loomed large over India's bid as FIFA, world football's governing body, needed guarantees on tax exemption, security, transport and accommodation of players, visa and foreign exchange.
India's first bid was rejected early this year, in January, due to insufficient assurances from the government. But with the government today giving the green signal in providing guarantees that would meet FIFA's basic requirements, it has paved the way for a strong bid.
While the expenses of hosting the event will be borne by FIFA and AIFF, the government has assured additional financial assistance.
"While the expenditure for upgradation of stadia (Rs.95 crore) will be provided as additional central assistance to the State Governments, a sum of Rs. 25 crore is kept as a contingency to ensure smooth conduct of the tournament.
"AIFF and FIFA have agreed to bear the entire expenditure of hosting the tournament. The amounts required are to be raised through sponsorships and other commercial agreements," the statement added.