ISL 2017: U-17 World Cup director warns Kerala Blasters about unsafe tier in Kochi's stadium
What's the story?
Javier Ceppi, the Technical Director of the recently-concluded FIFA U-17 World Cup that was held in India, voiced his concerns over the usage of the third tier of the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Kochi by the Kerala Blasters in the ongoing ISL 2017 season.
He took to Twitter to raise the issue, stating his surprise on seeing the top tier being occupied by the home fans in their match against Jamshedpur FC on Friday, as the stand does not have any evacuation capacity in case of emergencies.
In case you didn't know
The stadium has been the home of the Kerala Blasters since the inaugural edition of the ISL and hosted the final last year as well, which saw the home side lose out to ATK. It was also one of the six venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in October, along with New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Goa, Guwahati and Kolkata.
The heart of the matter
The stadium, which could earlier hold over 60,000 spectators, saw a steep reduction in capacity as it part of its refurbishment for the U-17 World Cup.
Bucket seats were installed throughout the stadium for the global event and in the latest edition of the ISL, only 39,000 tickets have been available for sale for the fans.
According to the FIFA Stadium Safety and Security Regulations, while calculating the maximum safe capacity of a stadium, the holding capacity, entry capacity, exit capacity and emergency evacuation capacity are all to be considered. The lowest of the four will eventually be considered to be the final maximum safe capacity.
During the World Cup, the capacity was as low as 29,000. However, for the ISL, it has been increased to accommodate the Blasters' fans. But the use of the top tier is surely a cause of serious concern, given the possible ramifications in case of an emergency.
The side from Kochi play their next home match on December 3 against Mumbai City FC and it remains to be seen whether this issue will be looked into by the club authorities.
Ceppi's observation is undoubtedly an extremely important one. At no cost can the safety of the fans be risked and the club management should ensure that the problem is rectified.