Preparations for the U-17 FIFA World Cup are in full flow, as India looks to cast its shadow on the world of football by welcoming the stars of the future into its terrains(and culture).
While FIFA has given all grounds a go ahead, it seems like Javier Ceppi, the tournament director isn’t quite happy with the ‘opening ceremony’ that has been planned a day before the start of the tournament.
Ceppi wants the focus to be on football, and has emphasised that in these tournaments, football is meant to take centre stage. FIFA has asked the Indian government to drop all plans of an opening ceremony, but it looks like the Indian government is all set to put up a deaf ear to FIFA and go through with the opening ceremony anyway.
India is hoping that hosting the U-17 World Cup can somehow spring up a footballing revolution in the country, and thus wants to do all it can to attract the masses. An opening ceremony thus becomes indispensable.
“An opening ceremony is not a usual aspect of the conduct of a Fifa U-17 World Cup, because in these tournaments football is the real star. There was a query by government of India at some point of time to do one but it is not confirmed that it will happen,” said Ceppi, the tournament director.
“For us, the most important thing is what actually happens on the ground and the complete focus of the nation should be on October 6 when the Indian national anthem is played for the first time in a Fifa World Cup. At the end of the day, not too many people remember an opening ceremony, but almost everyone will remember the first time India ever played in a football World Cup and our attention and energy should be directed towards that,” he further added.
The Sports Ministry has apparently allocated a 10 crore budget for the opening ceremony, and the event will be also be graced by Narendra Modi, who will deliver a 10 minute speech.
“The government was planning but I am not sure whether it will happen now. It’s the government’s call and we may know in the next couple of days,” said Kushal Das, the AIFF general secretary