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Kolkata likely to host FIFA U-17 World Cup final next year

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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11.45K   //    01 Jun 2016, 14:37 IST
The Salt Lake stadium will be cut down to 60,000 capacity after the installation of bucket seats

With India all set to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year, speculation has been high about the final venue. The decision is set to be taken sometime in early March next year. However, our sources indicate that Kolkata has already been narrowed down as the verdict.

A source close to FIFA told Sportskeeda, “Honestly, the organising committee is looking at various aspects for deciding the final venue. However, the major aspect has to be legacy, we have narrowed it down on the basis of filling up the stadium. Out of all the venues, we feel that Salt Lake stadium will be packed for a final, regardless of the opposition.”

Apart from stadium capacity, the organising committee is impressed with the venue’s growth so far. He added, “The West Bengal government has been very supportive to growth so far. The core infrastructure is already in place within the stadium, and now it is a matter of execution. Obviously it is not 100 % that Kolkata will host the final, but it is one of the front-runners.”

Work has begun in four venues already, with Delhi and Guwahati the only ones yet to initiate plans. He added, “Due to elections, it was difficult to begin work in Assam, but everything is going to plan right now.”

Organising committee members were amazed with the fan turnout during the previous East Bengal and Mohun Bagan derby, which acted as the clincher. He said, “When we went to Kolkata, we could see the actual passion, which really motivated us to narrow it down as a core venue. As I said, nothing is 100 %, if something happens logistically, we might have to look at other venues. Right now, for passion and work implementation Kolkata is the front runner.”

Earlier this year, Tournament Director Javier Ceppi visited Salt Lake Stadium, and termed it a ‘World-class’ facility.

According to our source, committee members are very happy with the core infrastructure in place. He said, “They’re extremely satisfied with the core infrastructure, the only issue is with its maintenance and basic facilities. That is what we are looking to improve for the event. Other things will also be improved to meet FIFA standards.” 

India’s marquee football event will run from September to October 2017. The same committee is also organising the AFC U-16 Championship in Goa, this June.

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