FIFA gives India checklist for hosting U-17 World Cup

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke Friday gave India a checklist to abide by if the country is to host the Under-17 World Cup.

Valcke's pre-requisites include world-class stadiums, tight security, top-rated hotel accommodation and transport, failing which the country will miss a big opportunity to give Indian football a big push.

"The U-17 World Cup has to be done under a certain criteria. India will not receive the World Cup if the pre-requisites are not met," Valcke told reporters here.

"The essentials include six world class stadia, star hotel facilities, smooth transport and tight security. The talks with sports minister (Ajay Maken) have been positive and he promised all support."

Valcke felt that the Under-17 World Cup would go a long way in building a strong foundation for Indian football.

"It is a great opportunity and we hope to give India a chance. It is not a simple tournament, it is World Cup after all. It is a big opportunity to improve infrastructure for the growth of the game in India," he said.

"We have set a 10-year plan for India and this will be the first step towards achieving the goal of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It will not be easy, it is a big challenge for the country."

Valcke also said that India needed to improve the standard of their professional league and for that all stake holders need to play their part.

"I-League as it is today is not perfect. It should be more representative encompassing all the regions. For that to happen, the All India Football Federation (AIFF), IMG and Reliance will have to work together."

"I spoke to some of the clubs here and they are looking for more support from the federation. The improvement plan has to start at the grassroots level so that sport can sustain on its own."

Chelsea CEO Ron Gourlay, too, stressed the importance of academies and felt that if football has to grow the starting point should be at the lowest level.

"Academies are about developing young players and there is a dire need of starting them game at the grassroots level," he said.

On the Ebglish club's initiative in promoting the game in India, he said: "We are not here to sell football jerseys or open a school for two-three weeks. That is not a step forward.

"For us it is more about the long-term plans. Working in the community, building infrastructure and facilities. That's our fundamental responsibilty."