India is all set to play host nation to the Under-17football World Cup from October 6 to 28 next year,he sport’sworld governing body FIFA announced earlier today. After a major inspcetion of all the venues where the matches are scheduled to be held, the biggest football governing body in the world has ratified Kolkata to be a sixth venue for the upcoming football tournament next year.
Kochi, Mumbai, Guwahati, Delhi and Margao have alreadybeen ratified as venues following inspections by the FIFAdelegation with Kolkata being the final name on the list.State sports minister Aroop Biswas said 75 to 80 per centwork has been done and the stadium will be complete by January31.
“We first came here two years ago to see the stadium. Thework that has done has been staggering. I am confident thatthe stadium will look 30 years younger. I grew up here watchedfootball here, it gives me immense pleasure to say Kolkata hasbeen ratified as one of the venue for World Cup matches.”
-JoyBhattacharya, Project director — FIFA U-17 World Cup,
The draw for the mega-event, to be held across six venues in India, will take place on 7 July.
Furthermore,Tournament director, Javier Ceppi was also teased with the question of whether the final will probably be played in Kolkata.
“This questionkeeps coming back and same thing I keep telling you. Before wecan announce about final, we have to complete the work fully.We are extremely satisfied.Monsoon has been severe here so has been summer. Weunderstand the weather constraint after January, we will havean assessment, then we will see whether a final or a key matchcan be played here.”
The Yuva Bharati Krirangan, also widely known as the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata has been under the works of going under a huge makeover for next year’s tournament. The stadium, which is already hailed as one of the most largest and most crowd-retaining football venues in the country will definitely be one of the most eye catching venues of next year’s mega event.
“Massive amount of work has gone into the stadium,impressive improvements since our last inspection in February.Lot of work has been done hence the ratification. The stadiumhas the potential to be one of the best in the country and canalso compete internationally.”
-Marion Mayer-Vorfelder,Competitions Department Lead,FIFA Delegation