November 28, 2016
Kochi: A mega event is coming to football crazy Kerala. “After visiting the Jawarharlal Nehru International Stadium, a 23-member high-level delegation comprising experts from FIFA and Local Organising Committee (LOC) has ratified Kochi as the venue for next year’s Under 17 FIFA World Cup,” announced Tournament Director of the LOC, Javier Ceppi at a press conference.
He said the decision to ratify Kochi as a venue has been taken after discussing it with all the stakeholders.
“There are a few things that need to be completed. We will keep monitoring closely and work with the Kerala government to make sure that all the readiness and all the compliance are there for the World Cup,” Ceppi said.
“ The state government now needs to focus on finishing the work at the stadium and especially the training sites within very tight deadlines, but overall it is commendable how the venue has shaped up,” he said.
Tracy Lu, project lead, FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, too agreed that the preparations are progressing well. “We are extremely happy with the progress we see here; from our last inspection a lot of development has already taken place and it is extremely encouraging. The dressing rooms, for instance, have been renovated and a lot of other construction work has been initiated. I believe this will make for a terrific World Cup venue,” Lu said.
Besides the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the team also visited the prospective training grounds in Kochi, including the Parade Ground, Veli Football Ground, Maharaja’s College Ground and Government Boy’s High School in Panampilly Nagar.
“The onus is now on the state government to complete all works on those sites before end of March 2017,” commented KMI Mather, president of the Kerala Football Association.