NEW DELHI: Post-lunch seminars are generally yawning ones, especially if they are held in winters.
Post lunch, at the FICCI House on Thursday (February 12, 2015), on the opening day of the third edition of the FICCI Goal 2015 International Football Business Convention, the interest generated by the panelists for the discussion ´FIFA U-17 World Cup – catching up with timeline…´ ended fast, with everyone urging or more. It brought all to Gurudeb´s Rabindranath Tagore´s vision on short stories – ´Wanting more.´
But as the vision was unveiled to the International Football Fraternity, ´creating a legacy´ was what has is being intended -- Target masses! Create a legacy! Reach millions!
Moderated by Mr. Joy Bhattacharya, Project Director, 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and with Mr. Javier Ceppi, Tournament Director, 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup; Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation and Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Development Officer, South and Central Asia as speakers, the enterprising discussion, brought forward the timeline, its impact and the vision.
Speaking about the impact of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Ceppi mentioned: “193 Countries watched the last edition of the U-17 World Cup. You need to remember that in 2017, it will happen in India. The scope of the global scope of the Tournament is huge. India has never witnessed such a global event ever.”
It´s important to bring Football to the communities and to bring the youth to the sport,” he added.
Narrating about FIFA requirements, Ceppi in his presentation mentioned that there´s a basic checklist of 349 items in 26 categories as far as Stadias are concerned; and 52 items in 8 categories as far as training sites are concerned.
He continued: “Who says India lacks infrastructure? India is the 4th largest Country in India which has the maximum number of more than 20000 capacity Stadias. We need to set the maintenance standards which would take it to the World level.”
“We also need to make sure that the kids would take advantage of this Competition. That´s the challenge, how will we make the difference.”
“In fact, we need to leave a legacy,” Bhattacharya echoed. “We need to engage with millions directly. Only then would we be able to create the legacy. We need to use the magic of the FIFA World Cup to empower the kids,” Bhattacharya who was earlier associated with the Kolkata Knight Riders, stated.
“You will witness one of the biggest social media revolutions. We intend to have a site where we would stay the curators. The content would be run by young football fans, all for the development of Football. We aim to create a mass movement.”
Travelling back in a time machine as how the journey unfolded, Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, AIFF recollected: “The journey stared way back in 2011. I was there at the FIFA Congress and I mentioned about the lack of infrastructure, youth development, Coach Education and Grassroots Development; and I was suggested that India should bid for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.”
“When we finally put in our bid, the biggest challenge was that FIFA wanted sovereign guarantees. Eventually, we approached the Cabinet and we were through,” Das recollected.
FIFA Regional Development Officer Dr. Prabhakaran said that “we are satisfied with the progress in India.”
“We at FIFA have special focus on India and that is evident from the different projects which FIFA are willing to do in Country. India deserves the attention as it has the potential. The last four years have been very encouraging indeed.”
Ceppi, meanwhile, stressed on “planning in advance.”
“The costs escalate if you do it at the last minute,” he said. “There´s always a science to FIFA´s inspection. It´s done so much diligently. There´s always a logic behind those detailed inspections,” Ceppi informed.
The venues for the Tournament haven´t been zeroed down as yet and six out of the eight inspected venues would be finalised based on the FIFA inspection report.
“The detailing doesn´t end with the U-17 World Cup. It continues,” Joy prophesied.
Ceppi added: “Every venue has to have four training sites. They have to be up to a certain standard. The training sites would be the one to leave the legacy so that once the World Cup ends, the communities can train on the site. The idea is to work hand in hand with all the State Governments in each of the venues.”
Summing it up, Das opined that “2017 is not the end.”
“The end will be the moment when the Senior Team plays in the World Cup. In 2020 we want to seriously bid for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.”
“I hope the event is delivered to a standard that gives FIFA the confidence for us to host the U-20 World Cup in 2020. Besides, we need to create the mass movement. And at the end, we intend to field a competitive Team in the Competition which will create dream for young Footballers.”
It´s important to bring Football to the communities and to bring the youth to the sport - Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran
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