Want to develop football in India: FIFA Director of Competitions
“We want to develop Football in India and we want to galvanize the Youth. We want to bring the possibility of going to an actual FIFA World Cup for the Indian audience. It is the fact of living through a World Cup that we want to bring in, to indulge in, and follow football,” Mr. Colin Smith, FIFA, Director Competitions stated in a press meet in the Capital on Thursday (May 21).
Besides Mr. Jamie Yarza, Head of Events, FIFA, Mr. Kelly Sathiraj, Head of Competitions, AFC, Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Mr. Javier Ceppi, Mr. Joy Bhattacharyja and AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das was also present on the occasion.
Smith added: “We are tremendously excited to come to India. This Tournament (FIFA U-17 World Cup) has the backing of the FIFA President, the FIFA Executive Committee members and the FIFA Administrative staff. India is a country with huge potential and we are glad to be part of it.”
“We are on a short trip and this trip is planned to acclimatize us to the Team which will be conducting the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Our purpose is not the inspection of the pitches, but in a word it can be termed as ‘fact finding.”
One of the main prominent features of any FIFA World Cup is the legacy which it leaves behind. And similarly the FIFA 2017 U-17 World Cup being hosted by India is bound to galvanize the youth.
“Ranging from stadia to the atmosphere to outburst of Football in India, the legacy applies everywhere,” Ceppi stated. “We are improving the existing Stadias to make them World class and our focus is also on the Training Sites. There will be a total of 6 new Training Sites built which the Clubs can use for playing matches and other Football related activities. We also aim to improve 19 existing Training Sites.”
“We are currently discussing with the State Governments as to how to put forward a legacy plan, which will outspread Football,” said Javier.
Joy also elaborated about a “variety of interesting partnerships with Sports Authority of India (SAI).”
“One of them is the Pitch Improvement Programme,” he informed.
When inquired about the possibilities of the selected venues, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das emphasized that the venues already have a legacy. “Most of the stadia would will be Hero ISL venues and that is a legacy in themselves. This will ensure a significant rise in attendance.”
The inspection for the FIFA U-17 World Cup stadia will begin by the end of this year.
“There will be an inspection by the end of this year and hence there is no need to take a final decision on it. The important thing right now is to give time and wait for the assessment,” Joy maintained.
“Every decision taken by us has to be in compliance with the FIFA compliance list. There are 342 items on that list and all of that has to be checked off. We will not make this as ‘just another tournament’ and perhaps that is why we are sitting here, two and a half years before, and discussing about it.”
Ceppi further elaborated the impact of the U-17 FIFA World Cup and opined, “having conducted a successful youth Tournament is bound to open up portals for many other Competitions.”
Significantly enough, Mr. Kushal Das explained the manner the ‘granted’ 95 crores would be spent.
“95 crore have been granted by the Government and the AIFF will transfer it to the respective State authorities. Not a single penny will be rooted through AIFF. The AIFF Financial Statement, as always, would be made public onwww.the-aiff.com.”