Kochi first Indian city chosen to host FIFA U-17 World Cup matches
- A 23-member delegation of FIFA and LOC chose Kochi as one of the venues.
- The tournament director is very impressed with Kerala Football Association for the hard work they have put in.
- The delegation will head to Navi Mumbai on Thursday.
A 23-member high-level delegation comprising experts from FIFA and LOC, who visited Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium earlier, will visit Navi Mumbai next on Thursday.
"Based on what we have seen and based on all the works we have done with the government of Kerala and the Kerala Football Association, we are extremely pleased to announce that Kochi has been ratified as a venue for Fifa U-17 World Cup. Congratulations!" tournament director of the LOC, Javier Ceppi announced at a press conference.
He said the decision to ratify Kochi as a venue has been taken after discussing it with all the stakeholders.
"There are a few things that need to be completed, few things that need to be done.
"We will monitor and work with the government of Kerala closely to make sure that all the readiness is there and all the compliance is there for the World Cup," Ceppi said.
The tournament director said a lot of work was put in areas people don't see.
"From sewage facilities to toilets, it's all been taken care of really well, and that for me is very commendable. The state government now needs to focus on finishing the work at the stadium and the in particular training sites within very tight deadlines, but overall it is commendable how the venue has shaped up," he said.
Tracy Lu, project lead, FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, said the preparations at one of the footballing hotbeds of India was fit for this stature.
"We are extremely happy with the progress we see here. There has been a lot of development since our last inspection, and that's extremely encouraging. The dressing rooms, for instances, have been renovated and a lot of other construction work has been initiated. I believe thus that it would make for a terrific World Cup venue," Lu added.
Besides Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the team also visited the prospective training grounds in Kochi – Parade Ground; Fort Kochi Veli Football Ground, Maharaja College Ground and Government Boys High School, Panampilly Nagar.