Official mascot unveiled for FIFA U-17 World Cup

New Delhi: The official mascot of the Under-17 football World Cup, starting October 6, was unveiled at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

In a ceremony which was attended by Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel and the chairman of the local organising committee Praful Patel, a clouded leopard called Kheleo was introduced to the fans, according to an official release by FIFA.

The clouded leopard is a vulnerable wild cat whose habitat extends from the Himalayan foothills to mainland Southeast Asia.

To commemorate Kheleo’s first public appearance, Goel said: “We are sure that he will be one of the most memorable mascots a sporting event in India has ever seen.”

“Kheleo is young, vibrant, enthusiastic and a perfect representation of our country. He will help us to involve kids with football in a fun way,” he added.

Citing the official mascot as a major component of the overall event brand that will represent the tournament and the host country, Patel said: “Presenting Kheleo as the Official Mascot to the world is another big step for our event.

“As the face of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, he will be going across the country to promote the tournament and to inspire kids and adults alike.”