A delegation led by FIFA head of events Jaime Yarza on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the facilities at the DY Patil Stadium here — one of the venues which will host U-17 football World Cup matches in 2017.
Navi Mumbai is one of the six provisional venues for hosting the 17th edition of the tournament that India will host next year in September-October. The other venues are Goa, Kochi, Kolkata, Guwahati and New Delhi.
Besides Yarza, tournament director Javier Ceppi and Vijay Patil, owner of the state-of-the-art D.Y. Patil Stadium, were also present.
“We think this is a fantastic stadium, as you can see it is high quality. One colleague of mine was saying, with few amendments this could be a big World Cup level stadium. We are satisfied and happy to be here. Obviously and they know it very well. We need to do some construction work and renovations for dressing rooms, various areas, doping technical rooms and medical, all this is in the plans,” Yarza told reporters after the inspection.
“We have come here today, did the review of the plans and the facilities and suggested some changes to make it a high-level standard from what we expect from a World Cup level stadium. They have agreed to all these changes and the whole planning was to 95 percent correct in the sense that there will be some minor adjustments. So we are very satisfied with this visit today and we think this is going to be one if not the best,” the FIFA head of events said.
When asked where does DY Pail Stadium stand in terms of facilities compared to stadiums in Kochi and Goa which has already being inspected, Yarza said: “We don’t like doing comparisons. The situation is different in every city. I think we will have six fantastic stadiums at the end for the tournament. They all have the same requirements s. Obviously the finishing and final tuning will be higher level than others. This stadium is comparable to any stadium in Europe, USA or Asia.”
U-17 World Cup tournament director Javier Ceppi said: “Looking at October 2016, all the core infrastructure must be ready one year before the tournament. We have come over here to see five or six Indian Super League matches. We were here for ISL 2014 final as well. So we know how the stadium operates when Mumbai City FC is playing. We are satisfied with certain changed to make it complaint to FIFA standards, but it is a good base.”
Ceppi said a few friendly games will be played to test the ground and facilities ahead of the big event.
“A few friendly matches will be played prior to the tournament. It is a good opportunity for Indian national team, both senior U-19 and U-19 team to play in this stadium. September-October is the single best window to have the tournament,” he said.
Patil thanked FIFA for bringing the U-17 World Cup to the city and staging matches at the stadium.
“This is a historic moment for India sport. We are deeply honoured that FIFA is visiting our facility. We are putting our best foot forward and it is going to be a great movement in India’s sporting history,” Patil said.