It was good to see that so many of you read my blog entry on India not being at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. And I am even happier to see the numerous replies and discussions that I was able to start off. It shows me that in India we are passionate about football more then we ourselves would likely believe.
Today I want to take my last thought forward from that write-up "India hosting a football World Cup".
Some of you might say, Arunava has gone totally crazy but I mean it seriously and I want to explain to you my thought process on this ambitious idea. Maybe we can get something started...
First of all I want to correct a mistake that our esteemed national coach Bob Houghton has made. Bob has said that India should apply to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Good idea my friend Bob, but there is a small mistake in the thought process. FIFA has closed the bidding for the 2018 & 2022 World Cup's. A final decision on who will host those two tournaments will be taken in December 2010. So there is no chance whatsoever for us to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And under the given circumstances it would be too early for us.
But now I come to my thought. India could get involved in the next bidding cycle for the 2026 & 2030 FIFA World Cups. Depending on who gets to host the 2022 World Cup, which looks to be an Asian nation then India could apply only for the 2030 World Cup. This decision would likely be taken in eight years from now, so we have enough time to set our own house in order.
But what needs to be done? First of all India needs to be recognised as a host nation for big sporting events. The 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi would be a crucial stepping stone, India needs to be a successful host. Then India could go on to bid to host the Olympics, while World Cup's in other sports also play a major role.
e.g. South Africa hosted the Rugby and Cricket World Cup's before now going to host the football World Cup. And the same is the case for India. Earlier this year India hosted the hockey World Cup and next year India hosts the cricket World Cup. Two good test cases for India to present with the first one having gone off successfully.
But we also need to host continental football tournaments to show our organisational capabilities and that we also have the necessary infrastructure. India did host the 2006 AFC Under-20 Championships in Kolkata and Bangalore. But this was only a stepping stone for India to organise the biggest Asian event, the AFC Asian Cup. The 2015 AFC Asian Cup seems to be heading for Australia, but 2019 should be the year India get the chance to organise the Asian Cup. At least we need to bid to host the Asian Cup and then see if we get to host it. This would give football related infrastructure construction a much-needed push, the biggest problem ahead of India in organising a major football tournament.
The above would give us a plan for the coming two decades with milestones to aspire to. Are we ready for it? Anything but that, still we need to start off somewhere. And goals are there to be fulfilled.
And why do I think is this possible? Simply because outside of India a lot of hope is being put in us. Both world football governing body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation are eyeing the lucrative Indian market. They want us to develop, they need us to develop. So they will favour decisions which go India's way and support us in all ways possible.
What do you think? Let me have your thoughts...