The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi – set and ready for an official handover for the FIFA U-17 World Cup – is faced with the threat of losing out the opportunity to host its most prestigious matches till date. The world governing body for football, FIFA has set out a stern warning to shift the matches to some other venue.
Just 3 weeks before the FIFA U-17 World Cup is set to kick-off in the country, the matches to be held in Jawaharlal International stadium in Kochi are under jeopardy.
FIFA, the world governing body for football has sent out a stern warning after shop-owners at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex refused to close down from September 15 till end of October, despite order from the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA).
FIFA had earlier instructed the local organizers to ensure that shop and other business establishments operating in the stadium complex should be shut down from September 15 till the end of the tournament as a security measure.
However, the shop owners approached the Kerala High Court and obtained a stay against the order issued by the GCDA. Out of 280 shop rooms in the stadium complex 236 shops were let out by the state authority.
“If the shops are not closed down, the matches in Kochi will be in jeopardy,” An official associated with the FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) has been quoted by Hindustan Times.
Kerala Minister for Industries and Sports, AC Moideen on Thursday announced that the State Government in co-ordination with Sports Council had decided to accord a grand reception to the ‘trophy’ on its arrival at the Jawaharalal International Stadium on September 22. He also said that an enormous INR 47.33 crore have been spent for improving infrastructure facilities at the main venue and three practice grounds at Panampalli Nagar Sports Council Stadium, Maharajas College Stadium and Fort Kochi Stadium.
However, FIFA has already mentioned that if efforts were made to override the guidelines laid down through legal measures, it will be up to the world governing body will be free to decide on the new venue.
Kochi is scheduled to host a total of eight matches, including the group game 7 between Brazil and Spain on October, to be followed by the match between North Korea and Niger.
The other matches will be held on 10, 13, 18 and 22 October.