New Delhi: India's bid to host the next U-20 FIFA World Cup ended in disappointment as world football governing body FIFA accorded the status to Poland. The European nation will host the next edition of the tournament in 2019. This was decided at the FIFA council meeting in Bogota, Colombia.
Amid much fanfare, India had submitted its bid for hosting the mega event after successfully organising the U-17 World Cup last October. The success of the U-17 event emboldened the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to submit a bid for hosting another FIFA tournament in two year's time. Both India and Poland fulfilled the most important criteria - of having ready stadia.
With the tournament scheduled to be held around May to June, Poland emerged as the preferred choice as it will be difficult for the players to play in the scorching Indian summer. It is believed that is what prompted FIFA to opt for Poland.
The U-20 World Cup has featured players such Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi - who would go on to becomes legends of the game. While the legendary Maradona played in the 1979 edition in Japan, Messi featured in the 2005 tournament in the Netherlands. The last edition of the tournament was held in South Korea last year.
Argentina have won the tournament most number of times (six), followed by their South American rivals Brazil, who triumphed on five occasions. (PTI)