FIFA issued a stern warning to Kochi that any kind of non-adherence to their guidelines with respect to holding the Under 17 World Cup matches would not be tolerated. This comes as the Kerala High Court rapped the Greater Cochin Development Authority for asking for shops in the stadium complex to be shut until the end of the tournament without mention of any compensation.
According to Manorama Online, the GCDA had issued a notice to the shops asking for them to be shut until the end of the tournament but the shop owners moved the High Court against the notice. The High Court, in turn, asked the GCDA as to why it didn’t give the shop owners time to move out when the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi was decided as one of the venues for the tournament two years ago. The Court also demanded an explanation from the GCDA about how they plan to compensate the shop owners, which was one of the chief demands that the latter made in their petition to the court.
If the GCDA is unable to resolve the issue and the shop owners refuse to down the shutters, it would be a direct violation of FIFA’s prescribed security measures. In that event, football’s international governing body will be forced to shift the Kochi matches to another venue. According to the schedule, Kochi hosts three group matches, one Round of 16 match and a quarter-final. Apart from Kochi the other venues where the matches are being held are Navi Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati and Kolkata. India’s group matches are to be held in Delhi while Kolkata hosts the final.