How much did it cost India to host the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017?
India bowed out of the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup pointless and with a goal difference of -8 which is the joint worst goal difference by a host nation at the U-17 World Cup. To sum it all up, the Indian team have come out of the World Cup empty-handed.
The total costs incurred at this tournament is a whopping 18 crores, a little more than the cost needed to buy Yuvraj Singh at IPL 2015. Newspapers have all come out with titles referring to India’s empty-handedness despite spending so much money.
However, this tournament might just be what Indian football needed desperately. The football fan following in this country is immense and with a major FIFA tournament being hosted in the country for the first time, stadiums have been jam-packed from Day-1.
Sure the ISL helped to globalize Indian football to a certain limit but this tournament will definitely take Indian football to the next level. Many footballing legends have paid visits to the country at the outset of the tournament and have stated that the footballing appetite in India is pretty good.
Cricket is worshipped in this country but football is practically played more in every nook and corner of India. So why does Indian football not have the same amount of popularity as cricket? The answer- Lack of money leading to lack of infrastructure.
Viewership was something Indian football did not quite have barring certain parts in North East India and Kolkata. All the football fans here prefer watching the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid play at the likes of Old Trafford and the Bernabeu rather than watch the I-league being played at Nehru Stadium and Salt Lake Stadium. I bet there will be people who have heard the name of Derby County but not of Dempo.
Keeping this in mind, India needed a great deal of international football to be played which could attract more viewers and thus probably bring in more sponsors to Indian football which could enhance the infrastructure and in turn, enhance the quality of the training of the footballers here.
Hence, the question is- was 18 crores spent for nothing? The answer at this point is NO, but after a few years, it will be “Quite worth it”. India has so far done a good job in hosting the tournament and the Indian team may not have won a single game but they have given their hearts and souls in every game.
Barring the few 30-35 minutes where the goals were scored, India battled hard for a good 235-240 minutes of the tournament. New stars were discovered with several players being linked to major European clubs. The likes of Dheeraj Moiranghtem, Anwar Ali, Komal Thatal, Jeakson Singh, and Rahul KP showed a lot of promise and potential throughout the tournament.
Hence, the 2017 World Cup will definitely go a long way in evolving Indian Football.