Kolkata: Salt Lake Stadium, the venue for FIFA U-17 World Cup final, has been handed over to the event’s Local Organisning Committee (LOC) on Sunday after being given a 10/10 rating.
Tournament director Javier Ceppi looked pleased with the arrangements and the refurbished stadium, calling it a lobby of a five star hotel. PTI quoted him as saying, “If you ask me it looks like a museum, be the entrance or the inside. Or like the teams said it looks the lobby of a five-star hotel.”
“You see and the stadium looks nothing like it used to before. That’s because the stadium needed to be fit to host a World Cup final, the most important football match to be hosted in India’s history. They (West Bengal government) took the challenge. This stadium now can be compared to other stadiums in the world that have hosted a FIFA World Cup final.”
Ceppi, who cleared that its 98% done and it is now their responsibility to take it forward from there, added, “It’s not a single person more. That’s the capacity of the stadium for a safe evacuation for every part and every spectator of the stadium within eight minutes.”
“Now, we need the transition from a museum to a football stadium to host the World Cup. It’s not major work but just two or three things,” Ceppi said.
He, however, could not pick the best stadium out of all the venues that will host U-17 World Cup in October. “All six of them are like our kids, it’s impossible to decide the best. I’m not being politically correct, but if you go to every single stadium in country the amount of work has gone is fantastic.
With certain touch-ups it would be a fantastic facility operationally as well. It’s not only about looks but substance as well. It does look like a 10/10. Bengalis must feel proud about the stadium now.” “The handover means we take certain responsibility and certain decision making with regards to last phase of rectification and work so it becomes fully operational for tournament,” Ceppi said.
West Bengal Sports Minister Aroop Biswas said, “101 per cent of the cost is borne by the state government. FIFA never allots money, whatever work you’re seeing is funded by the Government of West Bengal.”
“It was an old structure. From time to time, we had to take the expert advice of IIT Kharagur and sometimes BESU (Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur), so till it’s fully over we cannot exactly say the amount but it’s estimated to be more than Rs 100 crore.”