After months of deliberation, the local organizing committee has finally declared Kochi fit to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup matches. Javier Ceppi, the tournament director, announced this in a press conference, after a very thorough inspection of stadium works and training sites of the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi.
“At this point of time, we are happy to say that Kochi is a World Cup venue. There would be eight matches to be played in Kochi,”
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“The core infrastructure has been completed and only those which are meant to be completed closer to the tournament are left.”
There were concerns raised regrading the capacity in the stadium. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but will only host a maximum of 41,748 people.
“The stadium is fit for accommodating 41,748 people. Not a single person more.” “Now we are very sure that with that capacity that this stadium can provide to the spectators safety and well being,” he said.
“Match schedule has been finalised. I don’t know who has said that Kochi was demoted. That is not the case. Kochi was always going to get eight matches,” Ceppi said.
Kochi was announced as one of the official venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, way back in October. This was declared by a high-level delegation from FIFA.
But the preparations were carried not out smoothly, which resulted in a delay. Even the Sports minister, Vijay Goel, had expressed his disappointment over the delay.
But everything is ready right now, which will come as a huge relief to football fans in Kochi.