FIFA: D.Y. Patil Stadium comparable to world’s best

A final decision from FIFA about the status of venues and readiness to host the world-level event will be taken in October, a year in advance.

Jaime Yarza, FIFA's Head of Events (right), with Tournament Director Javier Ceppi at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Monday.   -  H. Vibhu

Jaime Yarza, the FIFA Head of Events, is of the view that the infrastructure and facilities available at the D. Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai are worthy enough to host a World Cup competition at a higher level. The stadium is one of the shortlisted venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, and FIFA officials completed an inspection of the facilty today.

India will be hosting the Under-17 World Cup at six venues. FIFA will take a final decision on the status of the venues and their readiness to host the event in October, a year in advance. The FIFA Tournament Director for the U-17 World Cup, Javier Ceppi, said friendlies will be played at the World Cup venues to assess the turf and other technical aspects. Kerala, Goa, Bengal, Assam and Delhi are the other States where stadiums have been shortlisted.

Yarza said: "The stadium (D.Y. Patil) is fantastic. With a few modifications, as we have suggested, the venue can be considered as a World Cup-level stadium, whenever India gets to host it. This venue is going to be one of the best — if not the best — venues we have inspected.”

Ceppi said that the FIFA deadline for completion of suggested modifications is October this year. Each venue will have a natural surface. “Grass is the preferred surface because we can ensure playing surfaces similar in nature at all venues,” said the FIFA Head of Events. D.Y. Patil will have two additional practice pitches. Ceppi added that the stadium owner, Vijay Patil, has committed to laying two pitches nearby.

Yarza said: “They know very well that we need renovations for the dressing rooms, technical rooms and medical facilities. The planning was 95 percent correct in the sense that there will be some minor adjustments. India will have six fantastic stadiums for the tournament.”

Henry Menezes, the CEO of Western India Football Association (WIFA), was also present at the inspection.

Ceppi, said: “We came over here to see five or six Indian Super League matches, so we are aware of how the stadium functions when Mumbai City FC is playing.”

The friendlies planned at the D.Y. Patil and five other venues will involve the senior and U-19 Indian sides, creating an opportunity for the players to make use of the facilities. The D.Y. Patil Stadium is Mumbai City FC’s home ground and ISL matches were held here during the past two seasons in October-November.

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