A ‘smaller’ stadium in Kochi for U-17 World Cup

Kochi will have capacity of only 42,000, less than the 55,000 which was decided earlier.

Jawaharlal Nehru stadium had the capacity of 60,000 during the ISL.   -  Thulasi Kakkat

For the last one year or so, Kochi had been told that the capacity at its Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium would be limited to 55,000 chairs for the coming FIFA under-17 World Cup.

But now, it will be a much ‘smaller’ stadium that will host the event.

“Now it is 42,000,” A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, the Kerala Government’s Nodal Officer for the World Cup, told Sportstar on Friday evening.

“The evacuation arrangements are not acceptable to FIFA for the third tier. The crowd should be evacuated within eight minutes in case of an emergency and FIFA feels that it is not possible for the third tier.”

The local organisers had planned to install 32,000 bucket seats on two of the stadium’s three tiers – work is on in this connection – and Hanish clarified that the capacity was not cut down by 13,000 seats to meet FIFA’s May 15 deadline.

“Reports had come in, today it was discussed and we clearly told the Minister that this is what FIFA has told us and that we intend to restrict it to the second tier.”

The Nehru Stadium had housed more than 60,000 fans during the ISL the last few years.

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