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Two days remain for FIFA U-17 World Cup, which will be hosted by India in six city venues across the country from October 6 to 28. This is the first time that India will be participating in a FIFA World Cup. The biggest football extravaganza for India, however, will not be having an opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony was formally cancelled after world governing body FIFA president Gianni Infantino refused to attend it on conventional ground. It has been reported that he will only be attending the final match of the tournament in Kolkata on October 28.
FIFA also made it clear that it is not comfortable with the Indian government’s plan of having an opening ceremony for the Under-17 World Cup, saying the money should instead be spent on the game. From the very beginning, the world body and the Local Organising Committee have been insisting that FIFA tournaments do not have opening ceremonies worldwide.
“An opening ceremony is not a usual aspect of the conduct of a Fifa U-17 World Cup, because in these tournaments football is the real star. There was a query by government of India at some point of time to do one but it is not confirmed that it will happen,” said tournament director Javier Ceppi.
“To be in line with previous tournaments, and in the best interest of the sport, we believe that the main focus should remain on football and the players, and that the investment necessary for an opening ceremony is better deployed in the youth and in football development of the country — even more so now with the AIFF’s ambitious plans to lay solid foundations for India’s footballing future,” he added.
The Under-17 World Cup, the first ever FIFA event India is hosting, will be played in six cities — New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Kochi and Margao.