'City can still host U-17 World Cup'

Ball in State Govt's court, says Ceppi

Despite the concerns over infrastructure, all hope isn’t lost for Bengaluru to come in as a host for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017, according to Javier Ceppi, the Tournament Director of the event.

“They (the State Government and the BDFA) need to show willingness and help us help them. Colin Smith (Director of Competitions at FIFA) has made it very clear that all venues must be certified a year before the event hence if we see a substantial and robust improvement by October 2016, then there is all the possibility that we will consider (Bengaluru).”

Ceppi said the Football Stadium (if it comes up on time) and the Sree Kanteerava Stadium were viable options but the governement needed to make that decision.

“The ball is in State government’s court. There are two potential venues that we have identified, either the Sree Kanteerava Stadium or Bangalore Football Stadium. But the authorities definitely have to expedite the process if they are serious about it.”

On the proposed Football Stadium, Ceppi said, “The possibilities are massive since it is in a prime location. There has to be an all-encompassing project that needs to take shape at this venue and ensure it is capable of hosting promotional events as well.”

“It is not impossible as last year, Concepcion in Chile got a 30,000 seater arena ready for the Copa America in a matter of seven or eight months,” said Ceppi.

“FIFA has a guideline list of 352 items that need to be considered for a stadium to be certified, which has been shared with the relevant authorities,” he said.

While Ceppi acknowledged that he has been receiving reports and photographs of the progress being made at Kanteerava, he said that there was still a lot more to do for the stadium to reach FIFA standards.

“I have been reviewing reports and various analysis about the progress being made at Kanteerava stadium and it is good work but not enough. There is a lot more that needs to be done before the venue can be deemed worthy.”

FIFA had announced that there were two cities -- Goa and Kochi -- that were confirmed as venues for the showcase event. Mumbai, New Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata were confirmed as provisional venues with Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai shortlisted.

But Ceppi issued a warning stating that Bengaluru must not get fixated on the U-17 World Cup but look to continue the good work saying, “This is not a race against time. Even though the infrastucture constraints are large, it is a fantastic city bustling with enthusiasm and opportunity. If not the U-17 World Cup, I’m sure Bengaluru will be frontrunners to host the U-20 World Cup or other Asian tournaments.”

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