NEW DELHI, March 16: All India Football Federation president Praful Patel on Saturday expressed his delight at winning the bid for hosting the FIFA U-17 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.
General secretary Kushal Das described it as a �historic moment� for Indian football.
�I cannot sum it up in words what this means to Indian football. Together with all stakeholders we need to make it a grand success, and at the same time we understand that we need to be competitive,� Das 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. � PTI