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Representational Image
Representational Image

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) along with a 13-member FIFA delegation on Saturday carried out an inspection to ascertain Goa’s readiness to host matches and training sessions at the football U-17 World Cup, to be hosted by India in 2017.

The LOC and FIFA experts expressed their satisfaction with the work which has been put in at the venue, according to a release.

Tournament director Javier Ceppi, who has overseen the progression of preparations at the venue, said: “Goa hosted the AFC U-16 Championship, which helped it get into very high infrastructure-compliance levels and gives us enough confidence to ratify it as a venue for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.”

“Now, it is the moment to start focusing on all operational aspects to ensure a flawless delivery of the event.”

Also present on the occasion were Goa Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar, Sports Authority of Goa Executive Director V.M. Prabhudesai, AIFF Vice President Shrinivas Dempo, LOC Project Director Joy Bhattacharjya and FIFA Project Lead for U-17 World Cup India 2017 Tracy Lu.

Describing the preparations at the venue, Lu said: “We last inspected the venue in February and I am delighted to see the progress on all fronts over the last six months.”

“The venue, in fact, has already been tested through the AFC U16 Championships and, from what the reports suggest, they did a great job. That adds credence to Goa and thus the venue certainly deserves to be a venue for India’s first FIFA World Cup.”

Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar was ecstatic at the prospect of the state hosting its first ever World Cup.

He said: “Goa just hosted the AFC U16 tournament, where the four Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup were decided. Needless to say, we are extremely proud to be given this opportunity to host the tournament… it will most certainly be the next feather in our cap.”

The team also visited the training sites proposed for next year’s event — Tilak Maidan Stadium, Cana Benaulim Ground, Bambolin Stadium and Utorda Ground.

Goa became the third venue to get the go-ahead from FIFA, after Kochi and Navi Mumbai, to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

The delegation will travel to New Delhi on Sunday to inspect the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium there.