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Kochi renovation work disappoints FIFA ahead of U-17 World Cup

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World football governing body FIFA on Friday expressed deep concern over the pace of work here for the Under-17 World Cup which is less than 200 days away.

A team of 21 members of FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) inspected Kochi, one of the six venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, to ascertain its readiness.

Describing the preparations at one of the southernmost venue in the country, FIFA Head of Tournaments, Jaime Yarza explained, “I was here last February and, to be honest, while some work has happened, it’s by far not enough, which is a matter of deep concern. The state government must get involved, give us an unrestricted support and get the urgency of the situation, because there are a lot of changes that need to be made to the stadium.

“The works need to be done by May 15 and given the large amount of renovation that must happen, works have to go on full speed. Also, the situation of the stores is quite concerning — from a security standpoint they cannot be opened during the tournament,” he added.

“There are stores with fuel tanks, which is a grave safety and security concern, so their equipment also need to be taken out. Overall, work needs to happen, and state government needs to make them happen fast.”

The delegation will travel to Navi Mumbai and Guwahati next before it concludes its inspection in Kolkata.

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