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By ESPN Staff
Oct 24, 2008

Mexico waits on FIFA decision for U-17 finals

ZURICH, Switzerland -- The host of the 2009 under-17 World Cup was unclear Friday after Nigeria said it could not afford to stage the tournament and Mexico offered to step in.

FIFA said Nigeria is "no longer in a position to provide its support." Soccer's world body must now decide whether to help finance Nigeria or look elsewhere.

FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, who represents the CONCACAF region, said Mexico is ready if needed. Mexico is scheduled to host the 24-team tournament in 2011.

"They have offered themselves and we are very proud of the fact," Blazer said. "They have a very good and ready infrastructure."

Nigerian government and soccer officials came to FIFA headquarters in Zurich this week to explain their situation. The country is facing costs of $30 million to prepare for the tournament, scheduled for Oct. 24-Nov. 15. Six cities are in line to hold games but all need to upgrade stadiums and infrastructure.

Blazer said FIFA president Sepp Blatter had committed to holding a youth World Cup in Africa.

"I think he is going to continue to work to see whether they can find an appropriate alternative there first," Blazer said.

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