The visiting FIFA technical delegation, after going around the main stadium and the practice facilities here on Thursday, have expressed satisfaction with the city as one of the venues for the U-17 World Cup.
According to the FIFA delegation, the venue, which is scheduled to host one pre-quarterfinal, a quarter-final and six qualifying matches, has undertaken all the work as prescribed by world football’s governing body.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue for the matches, has been asked to limit the seating capacity to 41,748 seats due to security reasons.
FIFA official Javier Ceppi, who is the tournament director for the U-17 World Cup, was the one who announced the decision and informed that the delegation members are happy with the preparations in Kochi.
Ceppi asserted that the delegation members know that rain might have caused a delay in the preparation of the four practice venues and understand the problems faced by the organisers.
“We commend the excellent work done by Kerala and since this is a very big event every aspect has to be taken care of,” said Ceppi who added that they are very particular about the security of the spectators.
“Due to security issues, the third tier of the stadium will not be used as it will not be possible to evacuate the entire stadium in eight minutes. Nothing can be done as the stadium has been constructed in that way, so we will not be using that area,” he added.
Mohammed Hanish, senior bureaucrat who was entrusted by the state government to oversee the preparations, while accompanying the FIFA delegation to the match venue and to the four practice venues said that they have been able to meet almost all the requirements set out by the delegation when they were here earlier.
The Kerala officials have been working hard for the past six months to meet all the required parameters to make not just the main stadium ready but also the four practice venues.