FIFA U-17 World Cup semifinal in Guwahati was impossible after the rain: Javier Ceppi | fifa-u17-world-cup-2017 | Hindustan Times
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FIFA U-17 World Cup semifinal in Guwahati was impossible after the rain: Javier Ceppi

Javier Ceppi, director of the local organising committee of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, said the authorities at Guwahati tried their best to get the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium pitch ready for the semifinal between Brazil and England but incessant rain meant their efforts bore no fruit.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 26, 2017 21:19 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
The FIFA U-17 World Cup quarterfinal between Mali and Ghana was played in torrential rain, which led to the pitch at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in slushy condition. With the rain not relenting, the ground staff could not prepare it in time for the Brazil vs England semifinal and the match was shifted to Kolkata.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup quarterfinal between Mali and Ghana was played in torrential rain, which led to the pitch at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in slushy condition. With the rain not relenting, the ground staff could not prepare it in time for the Brazil vs England semifinal and the match was shifted to Kolkata.(AFP)

Javier Ceppi said given the circumstances in Guwahati, no ground could have hosted a football match. Ceppi, director of the local organising committee of FIFA U-17 World Cup, was referring to the semifinal between England and Brazil that was shifted to Kolkata.

“To all those who have said the drainage system was clogged, I will say that it was clear. Guwahati was twice voted best ground in the Indian Super League (ISL). Drainage was never an issue, it was up to standard. We followed all the requirements FIFA had stipulated,” said Ceppi, with Jaime Yarza, FIFA’s director of tournaments, sitting alongside at Thursday’s media conference in Kolkata.

Ceppi was replying to what he would have done differently, looking back at 50 of the 52 games with specific reference to Guwahati.

“If matches had been staggered, we wouldn’t have needed to shift. But a very physical game between Mali and Ghana had happened and we needed to get the ground ready in three days amid almost continuous rain. It was unfortunate for the people of Guwahati but really no ground could have sustained such rain and still had a game,” added Ceppi.

Reacting to a complaint against Ceppi and Praful Patel, the president of the All India Football Federation, Patel said: “I don’t think it deserves any comment.”

AIFF to revive academies: Patel

Patel also said that five years after deciding that it was not the business of the federation to develop youth footballers because the world over it is the clubs who do that, the AIFF will set up academies across the country. “We have asked the state governments and the SAI for help,” said Patel.

In 2012, the AIFF had announced regional academies in Navi Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Goa. Three have been shut down and the only one now operational is in Goa where the India under-17 team for the World Cup was based. Called the AIFF’s Elite Academy, it also has the under-16, under-19 teams.