Football fans in the South Indian state of Kerala received a joyful news on Thursday as the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in India in October, finally cleared the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi to host the tournament.
Kochi, one of six venues which will host the tournament, had been under the spotlight after Tournament Director Javier Ceppi expressed his displeasure with the preparations at the stadium and even hinted that they had a plan B in case things didn't work out.
However, fast-paced work over the last few months have paid dividends after Ceppi expressed his satisfaction with the venue on Thursday. He said, "At this point of time, we are happy to say that Kochi is a World Cup venue. There would be eight matches to be played in Kochi.
"The core infrastructure has been completed and only those which are meant to be completed closer to the tournament are left," he added.
However, there is a bit of dampening news after Ceppi informed that the capacity of the stadium will be brought down to 41,748 from 60,000. Incidentally, the stadium attracts close to full capacity during Indian Super League matches of Kerala Blasters.
Ceppi explained that this decision has been made after reviewing the safety arrangements in the stadium, especially in case of emergencies. Kochi will host eight games including a quarter-final in the first ever FIFA tournament to be held in India.