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Iñaki Alvarez: India has the potential to host a tremendous World Cup

FIFA Delegation in India

FIFA Delegation in India

The two-member FIFA Inspection Team comprising of Iñaki Alvarez (Deputy Director of Competitions & Head of Event Management Competitions Division, FIFA) and Vijay Parthasarathy (Manager IT Competitions, FIFA), inspected the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the Thyagraj Stadium and the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The visit was part of their inspection to various stadia in the eight prospective cities among which six are slated to host the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup [+ INDIA 2017 Facebook page]. They had previously visited Pune, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kochi [+read more] with Guwahati and Kolkata being their final stoppages.

“We have been on the run for a week now. We have visited five cities and so far it has been very positive,” Alvarez told reporters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday morning.

“India has the potential to not only host a tremendous World Cup but also set a legacy for the sport in the country and youth football as a whole,” he added.

Speaking about the key aspects which are keenly looked into during an inspection, Alvarez informed: “Infrastructure stays on the top of the list. We look into the stadium, the dressing rooms, pitch, broadcasting facilities and so on. We also inspect the training sites with great detail.”

RELATED: 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup – A Stairway to Heaven… or to Hell? [+read the article]

He further added that no conclusions can be drawn right at this moment as it’s a long process that may take ‘several months to a year.’

“It is not by today or tomorrow that I can draw a conclusion of my inspection. It’s a long process which will take several months to even a year. We need to analyse each stadium, its facilities and plan accordingly.”

Besides Parthasrathy, Alvarez was assisted by Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran (Development Officer South & Central Asia, FIFA), Anil Kamat (Assistant General Secretary and Director Competition, AIFF), Sunando Dhar (CEO, I-League) and Roma Khanna (Manager Club Licensing & Marketing Communication, Sponsor Servicing, AIFF).

Alvarez further added: “There is enough time. But the urgency needs to be maintained. I expect everything to fall in place smoothly. The stadia should be ready well in advance to the kick-off of the event.”

According to Alvarez, the fact that India have a mix of both artificial and natural turfs won’t be a problem. “It’s possible to play on both. There is no problem.”

“Deadlines are there and they have to be met. But first we need a Project Plan and Project Team who can assess the proposals. We will make the best choices from among the options.”

(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)