The Local Organising Committee (LOC) of FIFA U-17 World Cup wants to involve every Indian sporting icon for promotion of the October 6-28 event.
The FIFA U-17 tournament director Javier Ceppi on Sunday said they are in talks with some of the leading sporting heroes, who have shown their keenness to be a part of the event.
“It’s not only about Virat Kohli, M. S. Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly. It is also same for the Saina Nehwal, P. V. Sindhu, Sania Mirza, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, P. R. Sreejesh. Every Indian athlete is more than welcome to join in promotion and become ambassadors,” Ceppi told a news conference today.
“Football is the most important game. These athletes are most decorated. It’s extremely important for the country to involve them. We have spoken to many athletes. I am not naming them but they have also approached us and extended their help in whichever way,” he added.
The tickets will be open for sale on the FIFA website from 7.11 pm on January 16 and will go on till July 7 when the draw is announced.
The time of 1911 hours is FIFA’s way of paying tribute to the Mohun Bagan icons, who had posted a historic win over Britain’s East Yorkshire Regiment in the IFA Shield final in the same year.
“We want to make it very clear that it’s important for Indian football, Indian history, and extremely important for Kolkata. Here we are all about football. We are all about honouring past.”
The promotional activity will begin with former World Cup winner and Barcelona legend Carles Puyol who will be in the IPL Playoff 1’s match studio between Mumbai Indians and a yet-to-be-decided opponents.
“He will also take questions from anyone in Facebook Live at 2.30pm from Mumbai on May 16,” Ceppi said adding that the Spanish star on the next day would be part of Mission 11 Million Programme.
“This is the first visit of a FIFA legend into the country. We will have many legends coming in the build-up.”
Argentine legend Diego Maradona will visit in September for two days but the FIFA is not associated with that, Ceppi made it clear.
“It’s done by a private promoter, we don’t get involved in such private programmes.”
Giving an update on the stadium preparations, Ceppi said he would visit the much-delayed Nehru Stadium in Kochi on May 18 to make a final assessment.
On the progress he said: “It’s in a good state with some finishing touches needed. That’s the case everywhere. Our first priority is core infrastructure.”
On the Salt Lake Stadium, he said the progress is as per schedule.
“The media box here will be the best seat of the stadium. You will have the provision to seat inside the media box as well as the media tribute to be among the roaring fans,” he concluded.
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