“We are happy to announce Kochi as a venue for next year’s World Cup,” declared Tournament Director of the LOC, Javier Ceppi.
Also present at the event were Mr. A. P. M. Mohammad Hanish – IAS & Secretary – Sports, Government of Kerala, Mr. KMI Mather – Vice President – AIFF, Mr. Joy Bhattacharjya – Project Director LOC and Ms. Tracy Lu – Project Lead FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
Describing the preparations at one of the footballing hotbeds of the country to be fitting for an event of this stature, Ms Lu added, “We are extremely happy with the progress we see here; from our last inspection a lot of development already taking place and that’s extremely encouraging. The dressing rooms, for instance have been renovated and a lot of other construction work has been initiated – I believe thus that it would make for a terrific World Cup venue.”
The State Government recently put in a lot of effort into relaying the pitch and Mr. Hanish exuded immense pride at the prospect of hosting the first ever World Cup in Kerala, “All steps are being taken by the state government to upgrade the match venue as well the practice sites to FIFA standards. We are eagerly looking forward to the conduct of the World Cup here in Kerala where football is almost a religion.”
Besides the stadium, the team also visited the prospective training grounds in Kochi — Parade Ground, Fort Kochi Veli Football Ground, Maharajas College Ground, and Govt. Boys High School Panampilly Nagar, and the onus is now on the State Government to complete all works on those sites before end of March 2017.
The delegation will visit Navi Mumbai tomorrow.