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'Ratification not guarantee for venues for U-17 World Cup matches'

Kolkata, Oct 25 (IANS) Though all six venues have been ratified by FIFA to host the upcoming U-17 football World Cup, tournament director Javier Ceppi on Tuesday said it doesn't guarantee hosting rights, and recalled times in the past when unfit venues were cancelled at the last moment.

The junior World Cup will begin on October 6 next year and will be the first major football event of global governing body FIFA to be hosted by India.

"This is not a blank cheque. We are ratifying venues, which means we are satisfied with the work that has been done so far and in accordance to FIFA norms," Ceppi told reporters on the sidelines of a media meet here.

A 13-member FIFA delegation and members of the Local organising Committee (LoC) inspected the Salt Lake stadium giving it a green signal to host the youth showpiece event.

"But work will be monitored on a regular basis and if it's not up to the mark by the next inspection, venues can get cancelled."

Kolkata became the sixth and final venue to be okayed for the U-17 World Cup after Kochi, Navi Mumbai, Goa, New Delhi and Guwahati.

"There have been instances before where a venue has been cancelled at the last moment for work not being completed. It's not that venues can sleep after being ratified. I keep coming here every month," the Chilean added.

Ceppi also said that FIFA will take over full control of the stadiums 15 days before to the tournament.

"They will be here 15 days before the tournament. In the last inspection in late February-March, they will see if everything is in order. There cannot be anything left to do then."

Explaining how teams will know in which city they will play before the draw is made on July 7, 2017, Ceppi said, "Teams will get to know where they will play by the first quarter of next year. Also important matches will take place in which venue like the quarter-final will also be decided."

Asked if security will be concern for the 24 teams which will take part in the youth event, Ceppi said they have all bases covered.

"That's not a concern. India is a safe place to me and we have worked on everything be it security, ressing rooms everthing."

Ceppi underlined the importance of training pitches saying they are more important than match venues.

"It's the four training pitches at every venue which will be used day in and day out by the teams to prepare. So it is very important to have them in order. Here (in Kolkata) we have two floodlit ones here and two at the SAI ground."

--IANS

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