Stadia need major renovation: FIFA

The FIFA team, which has been doing a recce of the venues across the country for the next year’s Under-17 World Cup, believes the six selected stadia need major renovation to meet international standards. 

The team led by FIFA head of events Jaime Yarza has been inspecting all the six venues and feelt there is a sound planning in place in the run-up to the event. It, however, said the time has now come for central and state governments to focus on implementing these plans before the October deadline.

The FIFA team has been in the country since February 14 and has already visited stadiums in Kochi, Goa, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati before inspecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

“It has been a long week. Overall we are satisfied with the planning, there is right process in place. The AIFF, the local organising committee and governments have done a good job in the last 16 months,” Yarza told reporters on Saturday.

“What we need now are amendments in the ground plan. All the six stadiums need major renovations. The state and central governments and local organising committee will need to start the construction work now. We still have time but October is not far away. This is the starting point to implement the plan.”

Among the six venues, only Mumbai’s DY Patil stadium could impress the FIFA team. Other stadia, Yarza was confident would become as good once they are revamped according to their requirements.

"Only DY Patil stadium, we found, has high quality. But it is a cricket stadium, so we need some renovation there also. I cannot tell in detail what all need to be renovated in these six venues, before I submit the report to local organising committee by next week.  There are many things but dressing rooms, for one, need to be more in number and bigger in the size. Each stadium must have four dressing rooms," he said. "We need to make changes in term of security as well but we are yet to consult a security expert. We will do a security inspection later. Safety is our top priority.”

Ceppi admitted that Salt Lake Stadium of Kolkata is the favourite to host the final though it is yet to be finalised. "Kolkata hosting the final match is yet to be confirmed as none of these six venues are confirmed," he said.

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