The All India Football Federation is in plans to open a new Centre of Excellence for all national teams, announced AIFF president Praful Patel at a press conference in New Delhi.

The new Centre of Excellence will cost upwards of 100 crores and the AIFF is looking to bring in private sponsors for the same, said Patel. He also said that while the venue is yet to be finalised, it had to be located in an area with lots of sporting activity and that he expected the facility to be ready by the end of 2018.

Patel also confirmed that India had formally submitted a bid to host the 2019 Under-20 FIFA World Cup, which had been reported earlier. Patel said, “We hope we can convince FIFA by our hosting capabilities at the Under-17 World Cup that we are ready to take on this challenge.”

It was also announced that the FIFA Executive Committee will meet in India for the first time ever on the 25th to 27th October during the World Cup in Kolkata. The AIFF supremo said that five venues had been handed over to the FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) and with the sixth, Navi Mumbai, being handed over on Wednesday, the hosts had shown “100% readiness”.

Head coach of the Under-17 team, Luis Norton de Matos was also present and announced that there was no nervousness in the camp ahead of the event and that his team was on an adrenaline rush ahead of the event and that although percentages of victory favoured their opponents in every match, they would try and play an appealing brand of football.

“Of course, the aim is to win but before that, we must show the world that we can play at a level similar to the rest of the heavyweights. I told my team that they were not obliged to win, but that they were obliged to play to win.”

When questioned about his favourites (apart from India) to win the World Cup, de Matos had four names in mind. “Of course, African teams are always favourites at this level but for me, the finalists of the European zone, Spain and Germany are very strong teams. Brazil is the big favourite for me as well. I am also very impressed with Mexico, they may reach the final four or even the final.”

Javier Ceppi, Tournament Director, LOC, also addressed concerns over the ticket sales and the marketing surrounding the tournament. “I can challenge anyone that the sales in Delhi have been historic. I have seen the sales for other sporting events in Delhi and they are generally quite poor, but this time, it has far exceeded my expectations.”

“I’m extremely surprised that a U-17 World Cup has been able to generate this amount of interest. It has significantly larger than previous editions. Matches have been sold out a month before the World Cup. At certain venues, we have realised that online sales is not the way to go and have started online sales.”