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Kochi gets FIFA approval as World Cup U-17 venue

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Kochi, Oct 19 (IANS) Three years after identifying a city stadium as a possible football World Cup venue, a high-level FIFA delegation on Wednesday cleared it to be considered for holding 2017 U-17 World Cup.

The venue cleared is the local Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium that stages One-Day International cricket and Indian Super League football matches.

Tournament Director Javier Ceppi told reporters here that Kochi becomes the first Indian city to be officially declared as one of the venues to host the next year's U-17 World Cup.

"Congratulations! We are pleased to announce Kochi as a venue. A few more things have to be completed and we will continue to closely work with the government of Kerala," said Ceppi.

It was the then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who in 2013 expressed the state government's willingness to play host to the tournament, assuring all possible support.

Since then, FIFA officials have been visiting the main as well as practice venues in this port city.

Suggestions were made by the visiting delegations to develop this venue to achieve the standards required. On their part, local authorities also spared no effort to ensure that the opportunity is not lost.

The deadline fixed for making the venue foolproof for the tournament is March 2017, when the delegation will visit again.

--IANS

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