All India Football Federation President Says Natural Turf Priority For U17 World Cup
Having won the right to host the FIFA U17 World Cup in '17, India now faces "the tough challenge of executing it," according to the HINDUSTAN TIMES. First "is the question of the venues." While six venues "will be ultimately shortlisted to host the biennial event," eight have been included in a list that All India Football Federation President Praful Patel termed as "tentative." Patel: "Those who control the stadiums will have to ensure that they are brought up to FIFA's standards." A total of Rs. 95 crore ($16M), with another Rs. 25 crore ($4M) as contingency, "has been allotted by the centre for upgrading stadiums as per the world governing body's exhaustive list of guidelines." Patel said that "stadiums with natural turf are to be given priority over those with artificial turfs" (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 12/10). THE HINDU reported Patel said that "the real challenge lay in meeting world standards, not only in the conduct of the event, but also in the performance of the Indian team." Patel: "We have to make a success of it. Indian football needs it." He said the future of the game in the country depended on a sound grass-roots-level program, and the World Cup "would provide the necessary thrust and take the game forward in the right direction" (THE HINDU, 12/10).