Fifa may scrap the proposed opening ceremony for the under-17 World Cup. The ceremony was scheduled for October 5 at the Indira Gandhi indoor stadium in New Delhi.
The Government of India has planned a high profile opening ceremony for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Speeches by Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Fifa President Gianni Infantino were listed high on the event flow chart of the inaugural show.
The government had reportedly planned to spend Rs 10 crore on the ceremony. Invites to attend the opening ceremony had been extended to football greats Diego Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, reports suggest that the Infantino has changed his travel itinerary for the under-17 World Cup. Instead of the earlier round of action, he would reach Kolkata on 28 October, The Tribune has reported.
“We are seriously considering dropping the idea,” Tribune has quoted a Sports Ministry official as saying. “But the final word has to come from the Prime Minister’s Office.”
FIFA doesn’t endorse the concept of opening ceremonies. According to the report, Fifa had told the government that it wouldn’t allow any extra expenditure from the Rs 80 crore that it had sanctioned for the organisation of the World Cup. Any spending in this direction would have to be undertaken by the organisers – in this case the government.
The opening ceremony was scheduled away from the World Cup venue as Fifa had declined to open the Nehru Stadium gates for the cultural show. Nor was Fifa ready to allow the “field” for any purpose other than the game.