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Kolkata to host FIFA Council Meeting ahead of U-17 WC final

Kolkata, Aug 31 (PTI) The city will host a three-day FIFA Council meeting ahead of the summit clash of the Under-17 World Cup on October 28, the All India Football Federation President Praful Patel said today.

Patel, who called on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said the meeting of the FIFA Council, the main decision-making body of the world football governing body apart from the Congress, will be held from October 26-28.

The Council consists of 37 members: the president, eight vice-presidents and 28 other members.

With FIFA giving high "importance" to India, Patel said that the AIFF's bid to host the U-20 World Cup in 2019 has also got a big fillip.

"The full FIFA Council will be here. This is a big achievement after hosting the World Cup. This shows the level of importance the FIFA is giving to India," Patel told reporters at Nabanna after his meeting with Mamata.

The meeting also discussed about setting up of a national training centre in Kolkata, which will be given a special status being the "home" of Indian football.

"We are hoping that the U-20 World Cup can also be hosted in India. I am very happy that the West Bengal government is extending full support. I am sure that the U-17 World Cup and the final will be a huge success," Patel said.

On giving Kolkata a special status, Patel said: "The AIFF will recommend that Kolkata shall be given special treatment. Kolkata is the home for football in India, a place where people are passionate about the sport. Obviously we will like to see that Kolkata is high on the map of Indian football.

"In the coming days, we are hoping to set up a national training centre of football and that is what was one of the discussion with the CM today. She has agreed to extend full support. This is only a preliminary discussion."

The gigantic Salt Lake Stadium now sports a new look and Patel is excited.

"The entire facility has come up beyond our expectation. FIFA is also very happy. Today we have discussed other arrangements for the World Cup and I am very happy with the meeting.

"West Bengal government is extending full support. I thank the Chief Minister and the sports minister and other officials. Everything is on track," said the AIFF chief.

There may not be any inauguration ceremony in New Delhi on October 6 but there will be some events during the prize distribution at the Salt Lake Stadium, Patel said after his meeting with Mamata and sports minister Arup Biswas.

The AIFF president also visited the Salt Lake Stadium that will host 10 matches including the all-important final.

"I congratulate the Chief Minister of West Bengal -- Mamata Banerjee for her continued support and the incredible amount of work that has been put in for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

"It would not be unfair to say that the honourable CM, Sports Minister Arup Biswas and their entire team have managed to completely renovate this facility and make it truly world- class. Come this October, the grandeur and passion that the city has for the beautiful game will be on exhibit globally, Patel said

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