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Why FIFA U-17 World Cup ties at Delhi’s Nehru Stadium were a nightmare

From young kids who were brought in to make the stadiums full suffering due to lack of facilities and even drinking water and insult of Bhaskar Ganguly, the opening ceremony of the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the India vs United States of America game was an organisational nightmare.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 07, 2017 20:52 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,India national football team,India vs United States of America
Prime Minister Narendra Modi felicitated some football players before the start of the FIFA U-17 World Cup match between Indian Under-17 football team and USA Under-17 side at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.(PTI)

The FIFA U-17 World Cup was extra special for the Indian football fans as they saw their team participate in a tournament of this stature for the first time, but the historic day was not without its blemishes. This was the first time that India was hosting a FIFA tournament and the goof-ups by the organising committee was not what the nation would have wanted on such a momentous occasion.

The Indian government distributed around 27,000 tickets to bring schoolchildren to watch the country’s first FIFA U-17 World Cup match. The attempt was to ensure there were not many empty seats during the opening day’s matches, especially since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present at the venue. The schoolkids were also given T-shirts and caps for the occasion.

However, poor management from the organisers left the youngsters high and dry. The students were forced to jostle and fight for water bottles with many desperate to quench their thirst even forced to drink water from the toilets. The food packets also arrived quite late in the stadium due to security checks and as a result, they were distributed only during the half-time of the second game.

The trash -- used food packets and water bottles -- left at the stadium premises after the match. (HT Photo)

The other major issue that the organisers faced on Friday was cleanliness. There were not enough dust-bins around the area where the kids were seated and as a result, the outside area of the stands was completely filled with waste. The few dustbins which were placed near the entrances was completely stuffed and the kids disposed of their food packets on the floor of the outside area.

“We know that there were issues with the distribution of water for the first match day of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in New Delhi. There was a provision made by the stadium, as providing drinking water is the responsibility of the facility owner, but there was a lapse on the distribution,” the Local Organising Committee said in their statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi felicitated former captains of the Indian football team in the pre-match ceremony and that also had mix-ups. The list included names like Sunil Chhetri, Bhaichung Bhutia, IM Vijayan and PK Banerjee but former goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly did not receive his memento during that program despite his name being there in the list.

The few dustbins which were placed near the entrances at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi were completely stuffed and the kids disposed their food packets in the premises during the FIFA U-17 World Cup match between India and USA. (HT Photo)

It was a result of a mix-up as the announcer called Ganguly’s name, but the memento was actually given to Rajasthan footballer Magan Singh Rajvi. The footballer was part of the Indian football team in the 1970s and he received the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1973.

According to Local Organising Committee (LOC) sources, the memento was presented to Bhaskar Ganguly in a private ceremony during the half-time of the India-USA Group A match held on Friday.

First Published: Oct 06, 2017 23:41 IST