Despite having hosted the India vs Puerto Rico match without any glitches earlier this month, Mumbai’s Andheri Sports Complex is not in the reckoning to host any U17 World Cup matches next year. The reason: lack of training facilities in the vicinity of the stadium.
“About a year ago, we met the Andheri venue’s authorities. We have been in touch with them and we sent the all the requirements to make their facility compliant. It’s a good football stadium and is located at the heart of the city,” Local organising committee (LOC) member Javier Ceppi told HT on Saturday.
“But there are certain geographical restrictions for Andheri — you need to have your stadium and four training grounds within a certain area from the team hotel. Unfortunately in Andheri, there are hardly any training facilities meeting FIFA’s standards in the vicinity of the stadium,” Ceppi added.
There is, however, hope for the newest stadium in the city. It can serve as a training base for teams coming to India beforehand to acclimatise with the conditions ahead of the World Cup.
“Teams will certainly be coming to the country before the World Cup. This will be much before we have to allocate teams with training sites.
We will be looking to allocate Andheri as one of the arenas for one of the pre-competition training camps. It’s close to hotels where teams can have their base camps,” Ceppi said.
At the moment, Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium has provisionally been selected as one of the venues to host the U17 World Cup, having satisfied FIFA’s inspection team a couple of times in the past. Ceppi also heaped praise on the facility.
“The venue in Navi Mumbai is quite on track. During FIFA’s last inspection in February, they found that DY Patil was the best stadium in the country from amongst all they had seen. We’re hoping to get all the venues to the standard of DY Patil.”
“The Navi Mumbai venue does not require renovations which are too comprehensive. The only major change is that the venue had two dressing rooms, but FIFA regulations state that every venue needs four. So, two more are being created,” he added.