FIFA U-17 World Cup | Brazil vs England semifinal moved to Kolkata

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FIFA U-17 World Cup | Brazil vs England semifinal moved to Kolkata

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SportsCafe Desk

10/23/2017

Due to pitch concerns, the FIFA U-17 World Cup semi final match between Brazil and England has been moved from Guwahati's Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium to Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. Both teams decided to shift the venue and the game will take place on October 25 at 5 pm.

A meeting took place between FIFA and Assam government officials on Monday afternoon to come to a decision on the likelihood of hosting the semi final at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, but ultimately, the two teams – Brazil and England – were asked to take a call.

“England said they didn’t have a problem, but Brazil weren’t willing to play in this pitch. Efforts were made to improve the condition, but the match has now been shifted. The teams will leave Guwahati today evening itself,” Assam Football Association president Hemendra Nath Brahma told Hindustan Times.

According to the officials, Brazil refused to play on the soggy field, which was ruined after the Ghana-Mali quarterfinal match on October 21 as it was played in rain. Mali had no issues with the conditions but Ghana was infuriated and lodged a complaint about the field later.

“We’ve not encountered anything like this before. I thought the game should have been abandoned and played at some another time but those who are organising said we have to play so we played,” said Ghana coach Paa Kwesi Fabin in the post-match press conference. 

Moreover, field’s drainage system was clogged, which resulted in water-logging, affecting more than 30% of the field. FIFA officials led by tournament director Javier Ceppi made efforts to find a solution, but all turned out to be futile.

“It is shining, and rain is unlikely now. We have two more days to go to make the field ready,” Sanjib Gohain Baruah, secretary of the sports department told HT earlier in the day.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal appointed Pawan Hans for drying up the field and a helicopter flew over the field for 45 minutes but the job could not be done. 

“Everyone tried their best but nature reigned. After four days of continuous rain, the soil became soft. The two teams arrived in the morning but are leaving for Kolkata tonight,” said Anand Prakash Tiwari, a key member of the World Cup organising committee.

Brazil thrashed Germany 2-1 in the quarterfinal to reach the semis, while, England reached the semifinals after beating USA 4-1.

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