FIFA FIFA Under-17 World Cup India Jaime Yarza

2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup will help attract global clubs to India, says Jaime Yarza, Head of FIFA Tournaments

September 14, 2017

The 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup kicks off in India later this year – and the eyes of the footballing world will be watching.

Kolkata, Kochi, New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Guwahati and Margao are all set to host matches as India seeks to establish itself as a major event organiser.

iSportconnect spoke to Head of FIFA Tournaments, Jaime Yarza, to discuss how the tournament, plus improved infrastructure, could help to attract global super clubs.

How will the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India change the face of football?

“Football is closing the gap in the world and many changes are happening in Asia, including China. We can expect that the FIFA U-17 World Cup will have a positive impact on Indian football as a continent of almost 1.4 billion people will be cheering for the beautiful game.

“That’s exactly FIFA’s mission, making sure that football is played in every corner of the globe to inspire a healthier and more active way of life. Sport – and in our case, football – is a guarantee for better people and a better future.

“Additionally, through the Mission XI Million project we are also targeting girls in India – they are also the future of the game. We want India to set an example for future hosts, not only because of the exceptional organisation of the tournament, but also for the development of youth football.”

Do you think the improved infrastructure will attract more global clubs to come and play in India?

“We are convinced that the revamped infrastructure and the commercial opportunities will attract national and global football actors to India.

“The FIFA U-17 World Cup in India will be a great opportunity for club administrators, scouts, football association and confederation officials, plus other football stakeholders to visit India, feel and live the passion of the Indian football community and re-think their future strategies in terms of including India in their plans.”

What have been the biggest challenges faced by FIFA in organising a World Cup in India?

“We have faced different challenges, but nothing that cannot be managed thanks to the assistance of the Indian government, the AIFF and the Local Organising Committee.

“The different legislative systems, the infrastructure, the size of the country, and therefore the transport of the teams and delegates pose challenges. That’s why it’s so rewarding to see all the hard work falling into place to make this World Cup the best U-17 gathering in the history of our sport.

“The very positive outcome of ticket sales and the great response to the Trophy Experience confirm that Indian fans are looking forward to the FIFA U-17 World Cup.”

How good has the commercial response been in India?

“The activation of our partners and local companies – the national supporters – has been overwhelming. Not only their financial involvement, but also all the activities they are implementing to promote the competition.

“Obviously, this is just the start of a fruitful cooperation between private business and commercial partners with the world of football in India. In the years to come, we expect to see more and more commercial entities investing in sport, and especially in football.”

Interview by Shantanu Shrivastava

FIFA FIFA Under-17 World Cup India Jaime Yarza