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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Football ground at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium out of bounds

Ahead of the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup, the main football pitch and warm-up area at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium have been shut.

other sports Updated: Aug 21, 2017 20:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,Football,Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
The main football pitch and warm-up area at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium has been shut for renovations ahead of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.(HT Photo)

The main football pitch and warm-up area within the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JNS) have been shut in preparation for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The JNS is one of the six venues for the global event and will play host to preliminary round matches of Group H that includes hosts India, Ghana, Colombia and United States of America. In fact, the opening match of the mega event between Colombia and Ghana will be played at the JNS.

The last group match is on October 12. Delhi will also play host to two pre-quarterfinal matches on October 16.

The venue under the jurisdiction of Sports Authority of India (SAI) is being spruced up for the global competition. In March, a FIFA panel headed by Jaime Yarza had raised concerns over the warm-up pitch that was under renovation.

According to Sanjeev Baranwal, an official of SAI, the main field as well as the warm-up ground have been handed over to the FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC).

“The main ground needs minor renovation, while the warm-up ground is ready,” he said.

Meanwhile, the home team will be allowed to practice on the warm-up ground. The LOC and All India Football Federation (AIFF) will take a call on that, said the SAI official.

The JNS is a hub of athletics activity in the region. The main eight-lane athletics track that includes football ground is already out-of-bounds, while the warm-up track is expected to be closed down in the last week of September. SAI has also shut the gym within the premises.

Over 1000 players, including those enrolled in SAI’s ‘come and play’ scheme, visit JNS on a regular basis.

The SAI runs its junior national athletics academy for sprinters/hurdlers at the stadium. However, it will be shifted to the Sonepat regional centre in September.

Those outside the academy will have to find an alternative venue to train. Satyapal Singh, an athletics coach at JNS, said: “Since training will be disrupted for three-four weeks, it’s important to look for another venue.”

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 20:46 IST