Korea chosen to host 2017 FIFA U-20

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Korea chosen to host 2017 FIFA U-20

Korea has won the bid to host the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the world’s premier youth football tournament.

Korea was selected in a vote by FIFA’s Executive Committee meeting in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, beating out Azerbaijan in a tight competition.

That qualifies as a football “grand slam,” as Korea becomes one of the three countries to host all four FIFA competitions.

Korea hosted the 2001 Confederations Cup, co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with Japan and hosted the 2007 U-17 World Cup.

Japan and Mexico have hosted all four FIFA tournaments.

The U-20 World Cup, previously called the FIFA World Youth Championship, has been held every two years since 1977, and Korea will host the 21st tournament. U-20 stands for under 20 years of age and 24 countries will compete.

The youth football competition captured national interest when Korea won fourth place in a 1983 competition in Mexico, its best performance to date. Korean passion for the sport swelled further when it came in fourth in the 2002 World Cup tournament hosted jointly by Korea and Japan.

In May, Chung Mong-gyu, head of the Korea Football Association, announced Korea’s plans to make a bid for the U-20 World Cup.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Korea won the bid because of its plentiful experience holding international sports events, its status in international sports circles and the active support of the government in the bid.

Kim Chong, the vice culture minister who led the Korean delegation to Brazil, said, “We will reuse facilities from the 2002 World Cup and hold the tournament with support by grants from FIFA and funding from the KFA.” That will limit government expenditure, he said.

“The government will be active in providing other sorts of administrative support,” he said.

The ministry said events can be held in various Korean cities, and they will submit bids to participate soon.

Turkey held the 2013 U-20 tournament and New Zealand will host the 2015 tournament.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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