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Posted at: Apr 21, 2017, 1:42 AM; last updated: Apr 21, 2017, 1:42 AM (IST)FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP

Ahmedabad govt’s alternative for Kochi

Sabi Hussain

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 20

The Union government has asked All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the FIFA U-17 World Cup to explore Ahmedabad as a possible venue for the October 6-28 event, in case Kochi fails to meet the parameters set by FIFA to host the matches.

In a recent meeting with AIFF and the LOC members, the government requested FIFA to consider TransStadia football stadium on the outskirts of the Ahmedabad as one of the venues for the World Cup. The stadium meets the criteria of having a main venue and four practice facilities.

FIFA has kept Ahmedabad, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai as the backup venues in case any of the original six venues shortlisted to host the World Cup matches fail to meet the deadline set by the sport’s world governing body. 

The shortlisted venues are Delhi, Kolkata, Navi Mumbai, Kochi, Goa and Guwahati. According to a source present in the meeting, the decision had more political significance than genuinely pitching for TransStadia stadium. “The government officials only pitched for Ahmedabad's inclusion whereas there are three other venues available as replacements. The government was only interested in Ahmedabad,” the source informed.

A recent visit by a FIFA inspection team raised serious doubts about the state government's intention to get the job done within the stipulated timeframe. 

While AIFF remained tightlipped about its meeting with the government, the LOC was quick to put out a media release when approached for its response. 

Tournament Director Javier Ceppi, who visited Kochi on Tuesday to assess the improvement made since the last inspection on March 24, said: “The amount of progress since the FIFA inspection has been quite positive and we are satisfied that Kochi will be able to meet the deadline. We certainly feel that Kochi is in a good path and we hope that they keep up the good work that has been done since the FIFA visit.”

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