Kochi confirmed as U-17 World Cup venue, says Ceppi

Tournament director of the Local Organising Committee, Javier Ceppi made the announcement at a press conference after inspecting the works being carried out in the stadium and the training sites here.

Chairs are being installed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi for the U-17 World Cup.   -  The Hindu

There may have been a lot of hiccups and worries in the last few months but Kochi has now officially got the green signal to host the FIFA under-17 World Cup at the Nehru Stadium in October.

“Over the past seven weeks we’ve been here visiting eight to nine times as LOC and the amount of work that has been done at the stadium and the training sites is tremendous. We see no reason to hold back Kochi and at this point in time we’re happy to say that Kochi is a World Cup venue,” said Javier Ceppi, the Tournament Director of the under-17 World Cup’s Local Organising Committee (LOC), at the Nehru Stadium here on Thursday evening.

“I’m confirming it. I’ve been given the authority to give this confirmation. The onus is now on Kochi to start thinking like a World Cup venue and to put every aspect – promotional, security, transport etc. in place.”

A major FIFA team in late March, and later the Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel, had raised many red flags over the pace of work in many areas at the stadium but all those worries have now been brushed away.

“Kochi was not demoted because that is not the case. Kochi was always going to get the group matches and a quarterfinal, which is about 15 per cent of the tournament’s matches,” Ceppi explained.

“We never had a scenario in which Kochi was going to be a semifinal or a final venue because there are many other aspects that need to be taken into consideration and among them the direct air transport with the final venue is extremely important.”

All the major works at the Nehru Stadium have been completed as per the May 15 deadline given to it.

“All the core infrastructure work at the Nehru Stadium was completed by May 15, the fire-safety system, the air-conditioning, installation of bucket seats, the changes to the dressing rooms, the VIP area have all been completed. We have always said that training sites (where work is in progress) have a different deadline,” said Ceppi.

“Now we can bring teams and spectators here. There are certain things that need to be resolved, I’m not going to deny that but on those certain things we have been given assurances. Like, we have been given a written assurance that the shops around the stadium would be closed. That was extremely important and without it we would not have a World Cup here.”

Ceppi said that there would be a FIFA inspection here on July 1 and the draw will be held on July 7 after which officials of the teams which would be playing their matches would be sending their delegates to their respective centres.

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