NEW DELHI: FIFA is trying to bring the World Cup home for millions of Indian fans, said FIFA’s director of competitions Colin Smith during a media interaction on Thursday.
A FIFA team comprising Jaimie Yarza (head of events) and Kelly Sathiraj (head of competitions) and Smith is in the Capital on a fact-finding mission regarding U-17 World Cup preparations. India is going to host the tournament in 2017.
“We are on a short trip and the purpose is to get acquainted with the local organizing committee and brief them on the task ahead and exchange notes” said Smith.
The stocktaking on infrastructure development will take place during their second visit. “There will be an inspection of the pitches and the stadia by the end of this year,” he said. The stadiums will have to be handed over to FIFA a year before the start of the event.
Acknowledging the fact that the event is not a profit-making exercise, Smith said that FIFA is extremely keen that India becomes part of mainstream football activity, both as a host and a team.
It will be the first time India will be hosting a FIFA event that will see 24 teams participating in a 52-game tournament spread across six venues.
The visiting officials discussed with the local organizing committee members how to make the existing infrastructure FIFA-compliant.