FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament director Javier Ceppi said, in a release, that the Local Organising Committee is satisfied with the progress being made over Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the accompanying training grounds. Among the six venues that will host the tournament starting on October 6, Kochi has been the one that has been in news for more negative reasons. Ceppi said that work in the city has picked up pace after the “big scare” over delays in March.
“With one hundred days to go, things seem to be under control and the renovations are going as planned,” he said. The stadium boasts a capacity of 60,000 but only 41,748 will be allowed for the tournament.
Ceppi said the fans too have started to show more interest and are responding to the World Cup by getting their tickets early. “We hope to have a full stadium in Kochi,” Ceppi said. Kerala boasts one of the most ardent following for the sport in the country, a fact that is confirmed by the grounds that pour in to watch Kerala Blasters’ matches in the Indian Super League.
The four training sites that teams participating at the venue will practice include Parade Ground, Fort Kochi Veli Football Ground, Maharajas College Ground and Sports Academy, Panampilly Ground. It was earlier reported that the Parade Ground was repeatedly being trespassed upon by animals grazing on the grass. The ground could not be fenced due to it being a heritage site.
It was in October last year that Kochi was officially declared as one of the venues for hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup by a high-level delegation of football’s world body. The city will host its first match on October 7 and is also slated to host a quarter final.