India needs to upgrade U-17 World Cup stadia: FIFA

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New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) A team of FIFA inspectors visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Wednesday and said there was urgent need to refurbish stadia around the country in preparation for the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup.

Inaki Alvarez, Deputy Director and head of event management competitions division, along with his two FIFA colleagues and local officials inspected the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which is one of the probable venues for the showpiece event. The FIFA officials also visited the Thyagaraj Sports Complex and the Ambedkar Stadium.

“I know three-and-half years is a long time (referring to the start of the tournament) but still there needs to be urgency in bringing the stadia up to the FIFA regulation,” said Alvarez at the Nehru Stadium.

“The atmosphere is good in India and I hope this tournament leaves a legacy for Indian footballers,” he said.

The officials from the world governing body will be here for around 10 days to inspect the stadia shortlisted for the World Cup. They will be visiting the eight venues shortlisted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and select only six of them.

Besides the Nehru Stadium and Ambedkar Stadium, the other shortlisted venues are Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, Karnataka State Football Association Stadium in Bangalore, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Margao, besides Kochi and Guwahati and Pune’s Balewadi Stadium.

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