FIFA U-17 World Cup: Local Organising Committee denies venue change for India matches
Reports surfaced this morning highlight a major venue change, but FIFA is having none of it.
The organiser of the U-17 World Cup, FIFA, has denied reports of a change in venue for hosts India’s matches from Navi Mumbai to Delhi.
According to reports, Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium is set to be replaced by Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for staging all of India’s group stage matches in the U-17 World Cup scheduled to held from October 6th to October 28th.
The All India Football Federation general secretary, Kushal Das, was quoted as saying by various media that an intervention by the sports ministry resulted in the change of plans for the age-group tournament.
"Initially, we had decided to play the matches at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai but later changed our plan as the sports ministry, too, favoured Delhi as the venue," Das was quoted as saying by The Telegraph, adding further that the AIFF would request FIFA to make the necessary changes.
However, FIFA has revealed that such a scenario is not possible, more so now that the schedule has been finalised and announced.
A source close to FIFA explained Sporstkeeda: “We are not aware of any developments and we believe there isn’t enough legitimacy in the reports to issue a release. Things don’t work this way and such a thing hasn’t happened as per our knowledge.”
All the venues for the U-17 World Cup will host a minimum of eight matches each, with Delhi’s quota of games ending earlier than the other host venues owing to pollution issues in the Indian capital city post-Diwali.
Apart from staging India’s group stage games, the DY Patil Stadium will also host two knockout stage games. Being the hosts, India should be potted in Group A, and five of the six Group A matches will be held in Navi Mumbai. The draw for the tournament is on the 7th of July in Mumbai, 91 days before the first ball is kicked.
Until now, only ten teams and hosts India are confirmed participants in the 24-team U-17 World Cup. 13 more teams, from Europe, CONCACAF and Africa, will confirm their participation once their respective continental qualification processes are over. The qualification process will be over before the date of the draw.
Delhi and Navi Mumbai aside, Kolkata, Kochi, Guwahati and Goa will share the hosting responsibilities in the 52-match event. Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium will host the final of the tournament, to be held on 28th October.