The Kerala government has spent Rs 66 crore for staging the upcoming U-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Kochi, a state minister said here on Thursday.
Kochi will host six league, one pre-quarter and one quarter- final matches. The response to the event has been good with the tickets for the opening day fixture on October 7 being sold out.
On the opening day Brazil take on Spain at 5 p.m and in the second match DPR Korea take on Niger at 8 p.m.
Addressing reporters here, Sports Minister A.C. Moideen said that the Centre has also contributed Rs 12.44 crore.
“The state government has spent this much money for the basic infrastructure which includes revamping the venue and also four practice grounds. The Rs 66 crore also includes Rs 17.70 crore for upkeep of the roads and beautification of the places in and around the venue,” said Moideen.
He pointed out that the state government’s role is limited to see that the infrastructure is ready, while the marketing aspect is taken care of by FIFA, which includes selling of tickets and managing the guests.
He said as part of the promotion of football in the state, numerous programmes are being held to popularise the upcoming event.
“On September 27 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. all across the state which includes 941 local bodies, 87 municipalities, six corporations, more than 7000 educational institutions and in clubs and other places, we have organised a programme — A One Million Goals — where ordinary people, celebrities and politicians will try to score a goal into an open goal post. Every person will be allowed to take only one shot and from each location where this is organised, the numbers will be collected and we expect to get a figure of more than one million goals,” said Moideen.
He added that there would be a torch rally that begins from the northern district of the state from Kasargode on October 3 and will reach Thiruvananthapuram on October 6. It would be led by former Indian football captain I.M. Vijayan.
“From the southern district, here, a football will be passed, that will begin on October 3 and will be passed by people including celebrities until it reaches Kochi on October 6. We will also hold football exhibition matches, here and in Kozhikode between teams drawn from politicians, civil service officials and the media. Moreover on September 22 there will be a road show of the U-17 World Cup in and around Kochi,” he added.
The tickets here are priced at Rs 60, Rs 150 and Rs 300 and are available only online.
“We will see what we can do to give free passes to school children,” Moideen said.
The total seating capacity at the venue has been reduced to 41000 taking into account the security concerns.