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Kochi serious concern as host ahead of U-17 World Cup, says Yarza

IANS logoIANS 27-03-2017

After announcing that Kolkata will host the final and the two semi-finals will take place in Guwahati and Navi Mumbai, FIFA spoke about all the six venues they have inspected so far before coming here, which was their final destination.

"There has been improvement. We have seen work done. There is a big interest. The situation is not as bad as it was a year before," the head of events Jaime Yarza said.

"But we are concerned. The renovation needs to take a completely different rhythm. They need to buck up to comply with the requirements," he added,

Yarza said a major area of concern was shops surrounding the stadium.

"Also a big problem with the stores surrounding in the stadium. We are still believing in Kochi and the authorities to make it happen. We have given them till 15th May to finalise the preparation," Yarza said.

"There might be a Plan B applied in the future but right now we are counting with Kochi as one of the venues of the World Cup," he added.

Commenting on the situation of Delhi, Yarza said: "It has improved. We are happy with the things that are changing. At the same time the pace needs to improve. The stadium in the capital needs to look as it looked when it was built. Need to increase the rhythm and keep on working. We are assured we can do it with the support of the state."

The two causes of worry in the capital, Yarza cited, were pollution during Diwali and crowd.

"One concern is the pollution in Delhi. The Diwali festivities. This has been taken into account. We are hoping that Delhi will respond to the World Cup and families and kids will come to watch the match," he said.

Yarza was effusive in praise for DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Guwahati.

"It was a very good stadium. I said that one year ago and it's an even better stadium today. The requirements we have had they are being fulfilled. We have absolutely no concern," Yarza said of DY Patil.

On Guwahati, he said" "This is a very good stadium. From one year ago it has changed a lot. The support of the state govt is magnificent. They are doing everything to have a fantastic World Cup stadium. It is also a legacy for the future. Also the state govt has compromised to facilitiate transportation for families."

The junior World Cup will take place in India for the first time and gets underway on October 6. The slogan of the World Cup will be "Football Takes Over". There will be 24 teams competing in six cities.

The match schedule was announced by tournament director Javier Ceppi.

The Salt Lake Stadium will host the maximum number of matches which will be ten including the summit clash.

The colossal Stadium, which has previously hosted Lionel Messi and OLiver Kahn's Germany before, will also have one round of sixteen tie, one quarter-final, a third place game and six Group F matches.

Group A will play in Navi Mumbai while Group B will be hosted by New Delhi. Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium will have one round of 16 tie and one semi-final and Delhi will have two round of 16 matches.

Goa will host Group C and two round of 16 matches and one quarter-final while Kochi will shelter Group D, one round of 16 tie and a quarter-final.

Group E matches will be in Guwahati with one round of 16 tie, one quarter final and one semi clash.

A 21-member FIFA and Local Organising Committee team visited the stadium to assess the preparedness.

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