There are exactly 344 days until the start of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. It will be a historic moment when the 17th edition of the event kicks off, with the world's second-most populous nation hosting a FIFA tournament for the first time.
While the meeting of the world's best young players may seem a while off, the tournament is quickly taking shape. The official logo was revealed at the end of September, while the exact time frame of the FIFA U-17 World Cup has also since been established.
From 6 until 28 October 2017 India will welcome football's future stars, who will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Memphis Depay and Neymar. The six venues for the tournament have also been decided: Kochi, Goa, Navi Mumbai, Guwahati, Kolkata and New Delhi.
"It is clear for all to see how football has already been making huge strides in India," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said upon the unveiling of the tournament logo in September. "However, there is still so much room for growth, and the FIFA U-17 World Cup can be an ideal catalyst to develop the sport even further and across the whole country. This is an exceptional opportunity to combine two of FIFA's core missions: to organise tournaments and to promote football development," he added.
"We are very happy to complete the process of ratification of venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 with Kolkata,” Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Javier Ceppi said. “This was a big step for the tournament; now, with less than a year to go, it is important for us to focus on all the details that will make India 2017 a successful event, such as the operational planning, and we'll put emphasis on the promotional aspect to make sure that India takes full advantage of hosting its first FIFA World Cup in history. We really have to make this one count."
Five of the 24 FIFA U-17 World Cup participants have already qualified: India (as hosts), Asian champions Iraq, as well as Iran, Japan and Korea DPR.
Qualification will conclude in May 2017 with the UEFA European Under-17 Championship, which takes place in Croatia from 3 until 19 May. The group stage draw for the U-17 World Cup will then take place on 7 July 2017.