Buoyed by winning the right to host the 2017 Under-17 World Cup,the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has now set its eyes on another marquee FIFA competition: the Club World Cup. A top AIFF official has said the federation is seriously considering the option to bid for the 2015 and 2016 editions of the tournament,having been encouraged by FIFA to do so.
AIFF senior vice-president Subrata Dutta said FIFA wants India to bid for the competition. He added that the federation will take up the issue once its president Praful Patel,who is out of the country,returns next week. We were waiting for the official confirmation of the U-17 World Cup. Now that we have managed to get that,our next target is the Club World Cup, Dutta said. FIFA has told us to bid for it. We will be discussing the minute details of it once Mr Patel is back. He is very serious and determined to get that competition to India.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had earlier said they had sought details from FIFA regarding the bidding process for the Club World Cup (one in which the Champions League winner from each continent face off on an annual basis) after governing body chief Sepp Blatter is said to have encouraged India to bid for it.
FIFA awarded the 2017 U-17 World Cup to India on Thursday. It will be the biggest-ever football competition to be played on Indian soil. However,the AIFF hopes to get the Club World Cup as a preparatory tournament ahead of 2017 World Cup. It will help us set targets. However,we are yet to work out the details of it, Dutta said.
FIFA awards the Club World Cup on two-year basis. The 2013 and 2014 editions will be held in Morocco. The venue for the 2015 and 2016 editions are likely to be finalised in the first half of next year. The tournament consists of seven teams from six continents,including the winner of the host nations league,and is completed within two weeks.
Last year,Patel had said: India are staging a serious bid to host the U-17 World Cup in 2017. Apart from that,we would also bid to host the 2015 World Club Cup. Both the tournaments would provide an excellent opportunity for our players to rub shoulders with the best of the world.
Blatter had assured FIFA would consider Indias bid seriously. On Thursday,while awarding the U-17 World Cup to India,the FIFA president had said that the country with a population of 1.2 billion is an important geopolitical destination for FIFA.