FIFA U-17 World Cup: Brazil vs England semifinal moved to Kolkata from Guwahati
The FIFA U-17 World Cup semifinal between England and Brazil was moved from Guwahati and Brazil after both teams complained about the pitch conditions.Updated: Oct 23, 2017 23:20 IST
The FIFA U-17 World Cup encounter between Brazil and England has been rescheduled from Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium to Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan due to pitch concerns. The game will now take place in Kolkata on October 25 at 5pm.
“England said they didn’t have a problem, but Brazil weren’t willing to play in this pitch. Efforts were made to improve the condition, but the match has now been shifted. The teams will leave Guwahati today evening itself,” Assam Football Association president Hemendra Nath Brahma told Hindustan Times.
FIFA and Assam government officials held a meeting on Monday afternoon to decide on the possibility of Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium hosting the semi-final on Wednesday. But they left it to the two teams – Brazil and England – to take a call.
According to the officials, Brazil declined to play on the soggy field, which had taken a beating after the Ghana-Mali quarterfinal match on October 21 that was played in rain. Mali had adapted to the conditions but Ghana later lodged a complaint about the field.
Ghana coach Paa Kwesi Fabin was not impressed by the ground conditions and in the post-match press conference, he said, “We’ve not encountered anything like this before. I thought the game should have been abandoned and played at some another time but those who are organising said we have to play so we played.”
To make matters worse, the drainage system of the field was clogged leading to water-logging affecting more than 30% of the field. FIFA officials led by tournament director Javier Ceppi tried to find a way out, but it was all in vain.
“It is shining, and rain is unlikely now. We have two more days to go to make the field ready,” Sanjib Gohain Baruah, secretary of the sports department told HT earlier in the day.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal too had Pawan Hans involved for drying up the field. A helicopter hovered over the field for 45 minutes but the rotor could not do the job.
“Everyone tried their best but nature reigned. After four days of continuous rain, the soil became soft. The two teams arrived in the morning but are leaving for Kolkata tonight,” Anand Prakash Tiwari, a key member of the World Cup organising committee said.
Whatever hopes the officials had of conducting the match evaporated after forecast of rain from the meteorologists. The weathermen underlined the possibility of rain on Tuesday night and 60% precipitation on Wednesday morning, the scheduled day of the semifinal.
England reached the semifinals after thrashing USA 4-1 thanks to a hattrick from striker Rhian Brewster while Brazil came from behind to beat Germany 2-1 in the other quarterfinal.
First Published: Oct 23, 2017 17:32 IST