Fifa U-17 World Cup 2017: Sports Minister Vijay Goel 'disappointed' with progress at Kochi venue

Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Friday expressed disappointment over the delay in completion of works at the main stadium and training grounds in Kochi for the FIFA U- 17 World Cup.

"We are much behind the schedule. We were supposed to complete the work by 31 March," he said, after reviewing the preparations at Jawaharlal Stadium, one of six venues selected for hosting matches.

File photo of sports minister Vijay Goel. PTI

File photo of sports minister Vijay Goel. PTI

FIFAs inspection team had last month expressed deep concerns over the pace of work at the stadium, and had set 15 May as the deadline for completing the work. "Though I am disappointed over the delay in completion of various works, the officers have promised me that most of the work, especially at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, will be completed by 15 May," Goel said at a press conference.

The Local Organising Committee of FIFA U-17 World Cup had earlier this month asserted that Kochi was on its way to complete preparation work by 15 May. "I have told them that I am going to play football after 15 May in this ground. So you have to be ready, we will have a demonstration football show there (Kochi)," Goel said.

He said he was "very much worried" about the delay. "My Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) wants world class arrangements for hosting the international event. So I am taking a personal interest in the arrangements and the preparations for FIFA World Cup," the Minister said.

"They wanted 31 May as the deadline for completing works at training centres. Now, I have shifted the date to 15 May, except for one or two things. That relaxation is there," Goel added.

The minister dismissed apprehensions that the venue could be dropped due to the delay. Asked about it, Goel said, "That is not needed. I have full confidence in them that they will complete by 15 May."

The review meeting chaired by the minister was attended by members of the tournament’s local organising committee and representatives of state sports federations. The meeting also paid a tribute to legendary Kerala footballer TKS Mani, who passed away in Kochi on Thursday. Mani was captain of Kerala’s first ever Santosh Trophy winning team in 1973. He had scored a hat-trick in the final against Railways.

Updated Date: Apr 29, 2017 12:48 PM

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