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'Urgency needed to complete stadia work for U-17 World Cup'

Posted on Feb 26 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 26 : Inaki Alvarez, deputy director and head of event management competitions division, FIFA said Wednesday that India had the potential to host a great U-17 World Cup in 2017 but urgency was needed to complete work at all stadia.

Alvarez and Vijay Parthasarathy, manager IT competitions, inspected the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Thyagraj Stadium and the Ambedkar Stadium here Wednesday.

The visit is part of their inspection in various stadia in the eight prospective cities among which six are slated to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

They had previously visited Pune, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore and Cochin with Guwahati and Kolkata being their final stoppages.

"We have been on the run for a week now. We have visited five cities and so far it has been very positive," Alvarez told reporters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

"India has the potential to not only host a tremendous World Cup but also set a legacy for the sport in the country and youth football as a whole," he added.

"Infrastructure stays on the top of the list. We look into the stadium, the dressing rooms, pitch, broadcasting facilities and so on. We also inspect the training sites with great detail," Alvarez said, speaking about the key aspects which are looked into during an inspection.

He further added that no conclusions can be drawn right at this moment as it's a long process that may take "several months to a year".

"It is not by today or tomorrow that I can draw a conclusion of my inspection. It's a long process which will take several months to even a year. We need to analyse each stadium, its facilities and plan accordingly."

Besides Parthasrathy, Alvarez was assisted by Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Regional Developmental Officer for South and Central Asia; Anil Kamat, Assistant General Secretary, Competitions, AIFF; Sunando Dhar, CEO I-League and Roma Khanna, Manager Club Licensing and Marketing Communication, Sponsor Servicing.

"There is enough time. But the urgency needs to be maintained. I expect everything to fall in place smoothly. The stadia should be ready well in advance to the kick-off of the event," Alvarez added.

According to Alvarez, the fact that India have a mix of both artificial and natural turfs won't be a problem.

"It's possible to play on both. There is no problem."

"Deadlines are there and they have to be met. But first we need a project plan and project team who can assess the proposals. We will make the best choices from among the options."

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