The Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi was today declared fit for hosting the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup. The announcement was made by the Tournament Director of the Organising Committee, Javier Ceppi, after inspecting the work in the stadium and the training sites.
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After failing to meet the initial deadline, the stadium in Kerala was given a renewed deadline of May 15th by the sports minister, Vijay Goel. And this time, the work has been completed on the second time of asking.
Further, although the stadium boasts a capacity of 60,000 people, it will only accommodate 41,748 persons for the tournament considering the safety and security of spectators. This point was made very clear by Ceppi.
"The stadium is fit for accommodating 41,748 people. Not a single person more,"
More importantly, the Kochi stadium now meets the required standards of security, "Now we are very sure that with that capacity that this stadium can provide to the spectators' safety and well-being," he said.
The tournament takes place across six Indian cities from October 6-28 and Ceppi asserted that Kochi will host 8 matches.
"Match schedule has been finalized. I don't know who has said that Kochi was demoted. That is not the case. Kochi was always going to get eight matches.”
Besides the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Ceppi also visited the training grounds - at Parade Ground, Fort Kochi Veli Football Ground, Maharajas College Ground and Government Boys High School Panampilly Nagar.
Finally, the official also acknowledged the work that was done to get the stadium and also the training sites in shape was ‘tremendous’.