Friday, December 6, 2013

India to host Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017

India to host Under-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017
In a landmark development for Indian football, the country was awarded the right to host the 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup on Thursday by the world governing body of the game in its executive committee meeting in Brazil.
India was chosen as the host country for the mega event by the FIFA executive committee in its meeting at Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. 
South Africa, Ireland and Uzbekistan were the other countries in the running for the right to host the tournament. 
By virtue of being the host country, India will take part in the 24-nation tournament for the first time in its history. 
“India confirmed by the FIFA ExCo as host of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,” FIFA said in a tweet after the meeting. 
“Yes, India has won the right to host the 2017 Under-17 World Cup Football. It’s official now,” All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das said. 
AIFF President Praful Patel described the development as historic.”This is historic. This is what we have been waiting for. I need to thank the FIFA Executive Committee for keeping their trust on us and granting India the rights to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup,” Patel said. “I am also grateful to the Government of India for their support and giving us the necessary guarantees which made it possible for India to bid for the 2017 World Cup,” he added.
This will the biggest ever football tournament India will be hosting and the first FIFA event in the country’s history. India has hosted Asian Football Confederation’s Youth Championships (Under-20) in 2006 and then the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 but never has hosted any FIFA tournament.
United Arab Emirates hosted the tournament this year while Chile will be the host country for the 2015 edition.
India, whose submission of final bid documents were initially in doubt due to delay in getting government guarantees on various subjects, will be held in six venues which are to be selected from eight prospective cities — New Delhi, Margao, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi and Guwahati. 
From the very beginning, India’s chances of winning the hosting right have been strong as it was FIFA which mooted the idea of the country hosting the mega event. The world body felt that if India can host the mega event, it could go a long way in lifting the profile of the game in the second most populous country in the world.
In a visit to the country, FIFA President Sepp Blatter and then his secretary Jerome Valcke, have supported India hosting the event, provided it builds the required infrastructure and facilities.
But, the journey has not been a smooth one as India’s initial bid in January was rejected due to want of clear guarantees from the government on several subjects which the FIFA wants from a host country.
The bidding countries were required to submit written guarantees on tax exemptions for broadcasters and sponsors, foreign exchange remittances, security, transport and accommodation of players, and visa, among others.
The government supported the AIFF’s bid from the very beginning but the sticking point had been the issue of the guarantees. India submitted the final bid document just a few days before the deadline of November 15.
While the expenses of hosting the event will be borne by FIFA and AIFF, the government has assured additional financial assistance.
“While the expenditure for upgradation of stadia (Rs 95 crore) will be provided as additional central assistance to the State Governments, a sum of Rs 25 crore is kept as a contingency to ensure smooth conduct of the tournament,” the Sports Ministry had said.
“AIFF and FIFA have agreed to bear the entire expenditure of hosting the tournament. The amounts required are to be raised through sponsorships and other commercial agreements,” it had said. 


Nelson Mandela dies at 95

Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela dies at 95Updated on : 06-12-2013 09:48 AM
Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first elected black president and a global anti-apartheid icon died early Friday, at his home in the suburb of Houghton in Johannesburg, following a lengthy illness. He was 95.
The elder statesman was receiving medical care from a leading team since September after spending three months in a Pretoria hospital for a recurrent lung ailment.
“Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” Zuma said in a nationally televised address.
He passed away peacefully at 20:50 (local time), 5th December, Zuma said.
“He is now resting. He is now at peace…Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,” he said.
Zuma announced that there would be a state funeral for the departed world leader. Details of the funeral have not been announced yet, but all flags will fly at half-mast until the funeral.
Zuma said Mandela’s tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world, “His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love.”
“Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood.
Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause, Zuma said.
“Let us reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another. Let us commit ourselves to strive together sparing neither strength nor courage to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa,” he said.
Hundreds of South Africans all over the country huddled in groups from the early hours of this morning to mourn the death of founding father of the democratic nation.
The government has also set up a special tribute website at
Mandela spent 27 years in prison, most of them on Robben Island, after being convicted in the Rivonia trial with several others 50 years ago.
He stepped down after serving one term as President following the first democratic elections in 1994.
Mandela had been in and out of hospital for the past two years with a range of medical problems.
Tributes and condolences from many world leaders have been pouring in from all corners of the world after the tragic news.
President Pranab Mukherjee said, “President Mandela was a statesman, world leader and icon of inspiration of humanity.He was a great friend of India and his contribution for strengthening the close ties between our two countries will be always remembered”.
Mandela was awarded the Bharat Ratna in honour of his contribution to the friendship between our two countries, he said.
“I convey heartfelt condolences on behalf of the people and the Government of India as well as my personal behalf to the family members of Late President Mandela and the people and the Government of South Africa,” Mukherjee said on Friday.
Describing Mandela as the “greatest personalities of our times”, Vice President Hamid Ansari said he represented the best of human spirit and values.
While his courage, determination and sacrifice inspired millions of people during the anti-apartheid movement, his message of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation thereafter, united them and led the rainbow nation on the path to peace and progress, he said.
“In his death, South Africans have lost the father of their nation and the world a statesman, whose life and message of courage and goodness would continue to inspire and guide all of us around the world in the years ahead,” the Vice President said.
Condoling his death, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India’s loss as South Africa’s. He was a true Gandhian. His life and work will remain a source of eternal inspiration for generations to come. I join all those who are praying for his soul”.


On the passing of Nelson Mandela

The White HouseThursday, December 5, 2013
On the passing of Nelson Mandela
This evening, President Obama delivered a statement on the passing of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.
See President Obama's statement


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