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FIFA team pleased with football venues in state

A two-member FIFA team visited the refurbished Cooperage football ground yesterday to have a look at the stadium and other amenities as part of their inspection of the eight venues short-listed by AIFF to host the Under-17 FIFA World Cup 2017.

Inaki Alvarez, FIFA Deputy Director of Competition (left), and Henry Menezes, CEO WIFA during an inspection tour at the Cooperage yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
Inaki Alvarez, FIFA Deputy Director of Competition (left), and Henry Menezes, CEO WIFA during an inspection tour at the Cooperage yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan 

FIFA's Director of Competition, Inaki Alvarez and Competition Manager, Vijay Parthasarthy, who returned to Mumbai after inspecting the facilities in Goa, were shown around the ground by WIFA (Western Indian Football Association) CEO, Henry Menezes and WIFA Hon Gen. Secretary, Souter Vaz.

The two-member delegation, was accompanied by Anil Kamat, assistant general secretary (competition), AIFF and Shaji Prabhakaran, FIFA Development Officer (Asia).

The team had also visited the venues in Pune and in Navi Mumbai. Alvarez seemed satisfied with his first impression of the Cooperage. "This is an advanced surface and very good. But we (FIFA) will need some time to finalise the venues," he told media persons.

"We had a look at two other centres, one which was a proper football stadium, in Maharashtra (Pune and Nerul, Navi Mumbai) and both were very good. Each venue is different and the ones with the best balance will be approved for the World Cup," he added.

For any venue to be selected it will have to fulfill the criteria according to the laws of the game. The field must be of approximately 105 metres in length and width 68 metres. Besides they should also meet all other amenities including proper training pitches.

"Regulations allow that matches in the U-17 World Cup can be played both on artificial turf as well as on natural grass," said Alvarez alluding to the mix of both surfaces available in the state.

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