Kolkata: Blaming the elements for the last minute shifting of the FIFA U-17 World Cup semifinal between Brazil and England from Guwahati to Kolkata, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) on Wednesday praised the Assam government for its help during the tournament.
LOC Tournament Director Javier Ceppi commended the authorities in Assam for helping the organisers in trying to get the pitch at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium playable, though the match was ultimately taken to Kolkata, fearing that the poor pitch conditions could lead to injury to the players.
“…nobody can control the weather and the effects these unforeseen rains had on the Field of Play made it impossible to ensure the safety of players for the scheduled semifinal match. The State Government gave us all its support to try to get the pitch to a playable condition, deploying workforce, manpower, extra equipment and even a helicopter to try to dry out the ground,” Ceppi said in an LOC statement.
“Their efforts on this issue were commendable and we feel everyone in the Northeast should be proud of all the measures that Government of Assam put in place to try to resolve this situation,” he added.
Ceppi said the organisers were extremely grateful for all the help and support provided by the authorities of Assam.
“We have worked with the current authorities from Government of Assam for the past year and a half and they were the reason why Guwahati was chosen as a venue for the FIFA U- 17 World Cup India 2017.
“Their unstinting support and commitment to the event was tremendous and it is fair that they get due acknowledgement and recognition for all the efforts they made to provide all the people of the Northeast the opportunity of enjoying World Cup football in the region,” said Ceppi.
“Without the complete support and assurances given by the current authorities of Government of Assam, it would not have been possible to host the tournament in Guwahati. We are sure that with this leadership, Guwahati will keep on competing to become the Sports Capital of India,” he added.