Kolkata: The West Bengal government is making elaborate arrangements to help school and college goers watch the ensuing FIFA U-17 World Cup matches scheduled at the Salt Lake Stadium in the city from next month.
According to a senior official of the West Bengal education department, arrangements have been made to provide free tickets to around 5,000 school and college students, both boys and girls, to watch each of the 10 matches of the championship, including the final, scheduled to be played in the city from October 8.
“Free passes will be provided to students of different schools and colleges of the state to watch the U-17 World Cup matches scheduled at the Salt Lake Stadium from October 8. Each day, around 5,000 students will be given the free passes to watch the match,” the official told.
However, it has been learnt that only students who play soccer or are involved in different sporting activities would be provided with the free passes. Of the 5,000 passes to be allotted daily, 2,000 each would be given to students of schools and colleges, while 500 each would be given to students of Madrasas and polytechnic colleges.
A separate box and specific seating arrangements at the Salt Lake Stadium have already been earmarked for the students, he said. “School authorities will be short listing the names of the students which will be forwarded to the education department,” the officer said adding, the directives in connection with the matter have already been circulated to the schools.
The West Bengal Sports Council, which is supervising the process, would also be forwarding lists of students it has prepared on its own. The lists will have names of students who have excelled in sports. The state education department has already written to the transport department asking for around 70 AC and non-AC buses for transporting the students to and from the Salt Lake stadium.
Arrangements have also been made to provide food and accommodation to the students coming to watch the matches, the official said. “There are many students who stay in the districts and it will be difficult for them to come and watch a match and go back home on the same day. So we are making arrangements to provide them with lodging and fooding which will also be absolutely free,” he said.
“With such a big sporting event happening in the city, we must help our students to watch the high-class foreign footballers play the game. Watching them will help in shaping our students who dream to be footballers. We are sure that the students will get immense inspiration watching such a tournament from the front,” the official said.