Kolkata's Salt Lake stadium may stage U-17 World Cup final

Other cities like Delhi and Mumbai are also kept into consideration while a final decision will be revealed by October this year

The final of the Under-17 World Cup could be held at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata, according to a delegation of FIFA who visited the stadium on Thursday.

India earlier won the right to host the 17th Under-17 World Cup between September and October 2017 and a 10-member FIFA team including tounament director Javier Ceppi are inspecting the six provisional venues, namely Goa, Kochi, Mumbai, Guwahati and New Delhi, selected for the cup matches.

"There is a possibility that the final may happen here (Kolkata), but we are not sure yet. There are other cities too where it can take place, like the big cities Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi," Ceppi said.

YARZA'S REPORT

"We have suggested some improvements, amendments that need to be done with the planning but they are small. The work done till now is very good and correct.

"If the construction work goes as per plan, we will be looking forward to confirming Kolkata as the final venue. We will be coming here for another inspection in October. But for now we are satisfied.

"The Kolkata stadium is an historic stadium, which has seen some great matches like the Nehru Cup in the past where we have had Argentina playing. We have also had Argentina play against Venezuela in a friendly match here so it is a historic stadium.

"We are working together with the state to make it top stadium in India for the future. Looking forward to October now, hoping that this will be the best stadium for the U-17 World Cup."

Adding his thoughts, FIFA head of events, Jaime Yarza commented, "We will weight the passions of these cities and there are a lot of other things we need to see and then we will decide. As you know, the final will be the most important match in the history of Indian football."

"This (Salt Lake) is a stadium where the final can be played, but the decision will come in October."

A second-round of inspection will be held in October after which a decision on the venue for the final should be reached upon, before which the required renovations at the stadium are expected to be completed.

Meanwhile, the reduction of the stadium capacity by approximately 35,000 people given the replacement of concrete slabs with bucket seats doesn't pose as a problem as per Ceppi.

"Earlier there used to be around 1,20,000 people coming in. But now the capacity will come down to 85,000. But then also it is huge. We have to ensure spectator comfort during the event and so the new seats are being installed," he said.

With regard to the draw for the competition, Yarza revealed, "We do not know what the date is, but it will be held in June 2017."

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) vice-president Subrata Dutta praised the development work adding they are now keen on hosting the U-20 World Cup.

"Even FIFA wants this stadium to be a legacy. We are keen on improving in the infrastructure more so later we can have the U-20 World Cup. And if some day we can have the event for the senior team, I hope the stadium will be good enough," he said.

Added the state sports minister in charge Aroop Biswas, "Money is not the criteria for us. We are going to spend whatever it takes so that the stadium can be world class. We are following the prescription which FIFA has given us."