Guwahati, Feb. 27: Fifa deputy director of competitions and head of events Inaki Alvarez today hoped that India will host the 2017 under-17 World Cup football tournament “in a befitting manner to build the reputation of football in the country, which is yet to have a soccer legacy”.
Inspecting the infrastructure in the city, which is one of the eight proposed venues in India’s bid for the mega event, Alvarez, who led a five-member delegation, today said: “India does not have the experience and tradition of holding soccer world cups. It is an opportunity to set a trend and promote the sport in this part of the world.”
He, however, said to prove that India is capable of holding the mega event, government patronisation is a must.
“Infrastructure, air connectivity and hospitality are vital for a venue and Guwahati has it satisfactorily. In fact, all the venues we have inspected so far are satisfactory in these regards but need a little improvement,” he added.
The delegation has so far inspected Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune.
It also met chief minister Tarun Gogoi this evening, who assured the team of all necessary support.
Sports minister Ajit Singh, commissioner A.K. Tiwari, director Ratul Duarah, Assam Football Association secretary Ankur Dutta and others were present during the meeting.
Another Fifa delegation will visit the city in October to assess the progress, as proposed in today’s inspection.
Fifa will announce the six venues for the event next year.