Three officials from the world governing body of football, FIFA, are arriving in New Delhi on February 20 for a 10-day long visit to the country to inspect the stadia shortlisted for the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.
After reaching Delhi on February 20, the three officials will fly down the next day to Mumbai to take stock of the Cooperage stadium over which an artificial turf has been laid under FIFA’s Win in India with India’ programme.
The three officials will visit all the eight venues shortlisted by the All India Football Federation for the 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup. Only six stadiums will be required for the prestigious event.
The FIFA team will inspect the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi on February 25-26.
“A FIFA team will be in India from February 20 to March 2 on an inspection visit of eight stadia shortlisted by the AIFF for Under-17 World Cup,” an AIFF source told PTI.
Besides the J N Stadium in Delhi and Cooperage in Mumbai, the other six shortlisted are Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, KSFA Stadium in Bangalore, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Margao, Kochi and Guwahati and Balewadi Stadium in Pune. Surprisingly, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, which fulfills maximum number of FIFA criteria, was not included in the list.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Western India Football Association has asked the AIFF to request FIFA chief Sepp Blatter to inaugurate the refurbished Cooperage stadium in Mumbai later this year.
The AIFF source, however, said that nothing has been finalised as yet and any decision concerning the inauguration of the Cooperage will be taken once the facility is ready to host competitive matches.
“The refurbishment of Cooperage is yet to be completed and now there is no talk about who could be coming to inaugurate it. Let the refurbishment be over first,” he said.
Cooperage has not hosted any competitive football match since 2011 and the I-League matches involving Mumbai FC are
being played in Pune for the last few years.