U-17 World Cup: Kochi plagued by problems

With just about 20 days to go for the FIFA under-17 World Cup, Kochi was forced to fret after many shop owners around the Nehru Stadium moved the Kerala High Court challenging the GCDA’s order to shut down the shops during the period of the event.

FIFA insists that the shops around the stadium should be shut at least 10 days before the championship (from September 26) and during the entire course of the event in October.   -  Thulasi Kakkat

With just about 20 days to go for the FIFA under-17 World Cup, Kochi was forced to fret after many shop owners around the Nehru Stadium moved the Kerala High Court challenging the GCDA’s order to shut down the shops during the period of the event.

When the petition came up for hearing, the High Court asked the State Government and the GCDA to consider the plight of the tenants and work out a solution.

The court adjourned the petition to Saturday for further hearing.

With football’s world body FIFA insisting that the shops around the stadium should be shut at least 10 days before the championship (from September 26) and during the entire course of the event in October, the State Government and the Greater Cochin Development Authority – the guardian of the stadium – had given an assurance a few months that it would be done.

And on Friday, the State Government and the GCDA filed an affidavit in the court that they were legally bound to hand over the stadium to FIFA for the World Cup and not honouring the agreement would force the world body to remove Kochi as a championship venue.

Meanwhile, the World Cup’s Local Organising Committee refused to comment on the issue as the matter is in court but hoped that a suitable solution would be found.

“This is a matter between the GCDA and the individuals concerned, and we hope that a suitable resolution for both parties can be arrived at,” said the statement from the LOC.

“We have a contract with the GCDA regulating the use of the Nehru Stadium for the under-17 World Cup and we have been given assurances by the State Government that all contractual commitments and obligations will be respected.”