Manchester: Having already bagged the hosting rights for the 2017 U-17 World Cup, the All India Football federation (AIFF) has now set its eyes on the U-20 version. “Going forward, we will be bidding for the under-20 World Cup, that is a natural progression,” AIFF general secretary Kushal Das told the Soccerex convention here on Tuesday.
According to Das, the U-17 World Cup will boost the popularity of the game in the country and help to improve infrastructure. Das also informed the gathering that the AIFF will merge the I-League with the star-studded Indian Super League (ISL) in the future.
“At some point we have to have one league, which will be profitable, which will be economically sustainable,” he said. “We are working on it. We are talking to all the stakeholders. It will take some time. It is difficult to clearly outline when that will happen. It will happen.”
The second season of the lucrative ISL will start next month. Comprising eight teams, the tournament boasts of several former World Cup stars and claims to have the world’s fourth biggest attendances after the English, German and Spanish leagues. AIFF officials also said that they are aiming to train thousands of Indian coaches to rejuvenate football at the grassroots level.