Deadline day for Kochi, but no major FIFA visit

Contrary to expectations, there would not be any such major visit by FIFA team on Monday, to assess the progress of work at the stadium.

Earlier, a big FIFA team had expressed its dismay at the slow pace of progress of various works at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium during its last visit in March.   -  Thulasi Kakkat

Contrary to expectations, the world body FIFA team will not be coming to Kochi on Monday to assess the Nehru Stadium’s readiness to host the Under-17 football World Cup in October here.

A big FIFA team, which expressed its dismay at the slow pace of progress of various works at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium during its last visit here by the end of March, had given Kochi a firm May 15 deadline to complete all the work.

This was followed by a visit from the Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel and he was also firm that the stadium would have to stick to the May 15 deadline. Both the teams had given the impression that there would be a May 15 visit to assess the situation.

But, A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, the Kerala Government’s Nodal Officer for the Under-17 World Cup, made it clear that there would not be any such major visit on Monday.

“Nobody is coming on Monday but there will be a monthly task force meeting here on May 18 and Javier Ceppi (the tournament director of the local organising committee) and Roma Khanna (head of venue operations) will be coming. That is all,” said Hanish on Sunday.

“They said that they would be having a monthly review meeting. They have decided this to be the venue for the World Cup. They will assess the situation here and send a report to FIFA. The FIFA visit is likely to be in June.”

The Union Sports Minister’s visit has had its effect and there has been an increase in the pace and progress of work.

“It had been decided earlier to give a May 31 deadline for completing the floodlighting work at the training venues. The other things are more or less complete… the chair-installation work, fire-fighting, air-conditioning and all electrical work have all been completed at the Nehru Stadium,” said Hanish.

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