India says no Commonwealth shambles at U17 football World Cup



India promised that this year's U17 World Cup football would avoid the mistakes of the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, notorious for poor quality facilities and corruption.

Subrata Dutta, vice president of the All India Football Federation, said the October tournament – the biggest football competition ever held in India – would make the country proud.

"It will be different (from the Commonwealth Games)," Dutta told AFP at the World Football Forum in Changsha, China.

"I think it will make us proud and we will be able to give our best."

The three-week World Cup will be played in six venues – in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa, Guwahati and Kochi – with the final in Kolkata on 28 October.

India's reputation as an organizer of major sporting events took a dive in 2010, when incomplete infrastructure and poor conditions at the venue entertainment athletes dominated the headlines.

Among the worst incidents, a main stadium footbridge collapsed a few days before the opening ceremony, while the swimming competition was affected by turbid water and debris falling of the roof.

Chief organizer Suresh Kalmadi spent 10 months in prison after being charged with financial irregularities, in one of the many cases of corruption surrounding the Games.

But Dutta said the infrastructure was almost complete for the World Cup and that FIFA inspectors arriving in July "will find everything in place."

"We will do our best to offer the best U17 U17 World Cup. We have been working on this for the past two and a half years and we have almost built the required infrastructure … Finishing touches are in progress, "said Dutta.

"Everything has been looked after by professionals," he added. "FIFA has guided us at regular intervals and I am sure we will be presenting a very good show."

The U17 World Cup is a step forward for football in cricket-crazy India, which despite its 1.3 billion population ranks 100th in the FIFA rankings, Highest position since 1993.

The Indian Super League franchise, with former stars such as Alessandro Del Piero and Diego Forlan, has been a success, attracting large crowds and television audiences since its launch in 2013.

Ticket sales for the World Cup worked well, the first phase of the seats for the sale of Kolkata in a few hours after last week's availability, said Dutta.

India also launched a basic project "Mission XI Million" to bring football to 11 million children in 15,000 schools in 36 cities.

Dutta said that if the U17 tournament is going well, India would offer the U20 World Cup, which is also held every two years.

But he added: "I think we have to wait a while till we are able to a senior world cup."



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