New Delhi: All India Football Federation president Praful Patel Saturday expressed his delight at winning the bid for hosting the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in 2020, but said the bigger challenge lies ahead.
“I would like to thank FIFA for keeping their trust in us and granting us the rights to host the tournament. I am also grateful to the Government of India and the State Governments for their support and providing us the necessary assurances which made winning this bid a reality,” he said.
This is going to be the second time India will be hosting a FIFA World Cup, three years after organising the U-17 World Cup for boys.
“We felt the football evolution which India attained in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 needed to continue, and as part of AIFF’s commitment towards development of women’s football, we decided to bid for the U-17 women’s World Cup,” Patel stated.
“The tournament will be massive as this time it will also galvanise the girls of the country, making it more popular,” he added.
“However, winning the bid was a lesser challenge. The bigger challenge of hosting the showpiece actually lies ahead, especially after the standards which we have set for ourselves in the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017,” the AIFF chief said.
The U-17 women’s tournament began in 2008, when New Zealand hosted it. Spain are the current champions and they had beaten Mexico 2-1 in the final in Uruguay last year. The tournament in India will be the seventh edition.
Asian teams are the most successful teams in the tournament, with North Korea (2008 and 2016) having won it twice while Japan (2014) and South Korea (2010) had won it once each.
France (2012) and Spain (2018) are the only non-Asian teams to have won the tournament.