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India pipped by Poland to 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup hosting rights

India’s bid to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019 came unstuck after members of the FIFA Council voted in favour of Poland for the right to host the tournament

football Updated: Mar 17, 2018 16:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup,FIFA U-20 World Cup,FIFA Council
FIFA President Gianni Infantino attends a press conference on Friday in Bogota, Colombia, after FIFA Council meeting. FIFA awarded the hosting rights of the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup to Poland.(AFP)

Poland pipped India in the race to host the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup after members of the world governing body’s main decision-making panel - the FIFA Council - voted in favour of the European nation in its meeting in Bogota, Colombia, on Friday. Poland received nine votes as against India’s five.

India, having hosted the U-17 World Cup last year, had hoped to use the interest generated from the first ever FIFA tournament on its soil as the selling point for its bid. The event last year had seen record attendance figures for any age-group World Cup.

However, despite there being only two countries in the bidding race, India had been widely perceived as the underdog to Poland due to various reasons.

One being the hot weather across large parts of India during the months of May and June, when the tournament is usually held.

With many clubs across the world unwilling to release players during the regular season, FIFA has been scheduling the tournament within the months of May to August since 2011 to avoid a club-country conflict. The last two editions were held in May-June.

Another deterrent to India hosting the event was the fact that the last edition of the U-20 World Cup had been hosted by an Asian country - South Korea.

Only one of the last six editions of the U-20 World Cup had been hosted by a UEFA member nation - Turkey in 2013 - which further boosted Poland’s chances of hosting the tournament.

India are already out of the qualification race for the 2019 U-20 World Cup, having failed to make the cut for the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship, the semi-finalists of which make it to the global event a year later.

First Published: Mar 17, 2018 15:33 IST