FIFA U-17 World Cup’s tournament director Javier Ceppi today expressed concerns over the lukewarm response to ticket sales in Delhi and Goa but said preparations in Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium, venue for the final, is very close to completion.
The mega-event will be held across six Indian cities from October 6 to 28.
The tournament, a first in India, is exactly 100 days away.
“The renovations undertaken in Kolkata are massive and every time we come, there are new things being done,” Ceppi said about Kolkata, widely considered the ‘home of Indian football’.
“Luckily, 100 days from the World Cup, it is looking very close to completion on all fronts and only minor matters are pending, which we always knew would be the case.”
The LOC has earmarked four practice grounds for the World Cup, two at the Saltlake Stadium and two more at the Sports Authority of India Eastern Centre.
“The enthusiasm in the fans is fantastic and we are confident that Salt Lake will be a full house for the matches.”
However, things are not as rosy as far as ticket sales are concerned in the capital and Goa.
“The work in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the New Delhi training sites is showing positive results and the facilities are looking much nicer with 100 days to the event.
“The concern is the crowd response, as Delhi is lagging behind in the ticket sales and we hope that this situation can improve after the draw. The capital of the country deserves to show to the world, a full stadium, any other thing will not be befitting Delhi.”
Goa, which hosted the AFC U-16 Championship 2016 has impressed Ceppi with its preparedness, but the low response from fans to witness the games live has not gone well with the Chilean.
Speaking about the progress of preparations in Goa, tournament director of the Local Organising Committee Ceppi said, “With one hundred days until the tournament, most of the facilities in Goa are looking good. There is finishing work going on currently, that we hope is done soon.
“The main concern has been the response of the crowd so far, as the ticket sales has been low. We hope that Goa picks up and that it justifies its status as one of the hotbeds for football in India.”