U-17 World Cup: FIFA urges organisers to increase pace of preparations in Delhi

FIFA Head of Tournaments Jaime Yarza said he had seen improvements at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi, but a lot of work was still to be done

football Updated: Mar 22, 2017 17:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,World Cup,Football
Union Sports Minister Vijay Goyal (right) with All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel during the launch of the U-17 FIFA World Cup mascot Kheleo, in New Delhi.(PTI)

On a round of inspection of the six venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, which will be held from October 6 to 28 later this year, FIFA Head of Tournaments Jaime Yarza on Wednesday called on the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to work on a ‘stronger pace’, in order to ensure timely completion of work ahead of the event.

After finishing his inspection of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, the first of the six venues to be inspected, Yarza said he had seen improvements, but a lot of work is still to be done.

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“We have seen that there have been improvements and work has been done,” he said.

“At the same time, it is important to know that we don’t have that much time to go. There is a lot of improvement that’s needed, there’s a lot of work still to be done here in Delhi. I urge all the authorities to keep on working with the same enthusiasm, but may be with a stronger pace,” Yarza added.

Javier Ceppi (left), Tournament Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 at an inspection at the Salt Lake Stadium last month. (PTI)

Stadium should represent the city

The FIFA official said authorities must ensure that the stadium in Delhi represents the city well.

“We have seen things improve, but Delhi is a very important city, and the stadium should represent the city in the best way. That means the stadium has to be really top notch,” he commented.

Javier Ceppi, Tournament Director of the LOC, said the committee is targeting end of April to finish work on training sites and other areas relating to the stadium.

“We have been talking to the government. Initially we said that all the work should have been completed by now, but we understand that there have been certain complications with tendering, etc. We are looking at the end of next month (to complete the work),” he said.

Speaking about the venues, Ceppi said that states which show ‘readiness and willingness’ will be allocated more games during the tournament.

Will take doctors’ opinions on Delhi pollution’

FIFA’s Yarza said that the world governing body is consulting doctors on possible health effects from hosting games in Delhi in October, a time when air pollution tends to reach hazardous levels in the city.

“We are concerned. We have our doctors, and they are monitoring the situation. Once we have the opinions of the doctors, then we will know better,” he said.

Ceppi added that the organisers were working with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) over the matter.

Final venue

Meanwhile, with the venue for the final of the event set to be named soon, Yarza said many factors would be taken into account for the same. Apart from the capacity of the stadium and logistical issues, involvement of fans and authorities will also be accounted for.

He also confirmed that FIFA would send a delegation for a final round of inspection just before the draw for the final tournament is made in July.

First Published: Mar 22, 2017 15:12 IST