NEW DELHI: The six-city trophy tour for the FIFA U-17 World Cup will begin in the national capital from August 17. Keeping in view Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making football the sport of choice in India, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is leaving no ball unturned in organising the event.
It is for the first time that India is hosting a football world championship. A sports ministry official said, “We want to make this event memorable. It is going to be a grand occasion as PM Modi has
talked about it many times.”
To help realise the PM’s vision, talks are going on with some Bollywood composers, including Pritam, to compose an anthem to promote the world championship. Pritam, along with his band, may also perform at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium where the opening ceremony will be held. An estimated budget of about `8-10 crore has been earmarked for the hour-long opening ceremony, said
“There will be cultural programmes showcasing our rich diversity. There will also be a light and sound show,” he added. “Invitation requests have been sent to Argentine football legend Diego Maradona and Brazilian football star Ronaldo for the grand event. PM Modi will inaugurate the event and will address the gathering.”
To make the game popular, the sports ministry launched Mission XI Million to encourage children to play football. “The plan is to reach out to about 12,000 schools across the country. Seminars for teacher and sports educators, in-school activities and football festivals are being held and it will continue up to September this year,” said an official.