Navi Mumbai’s Dr DY Patil Stadium has emerged as a surprise alternate venue in Mumbai to host the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017 besides the Cooperage Stadium in Churchgate.
The Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai
According to sources, the two-member FIFA delegation — Inaki Alvarez (FIFA’s director of competitions) and Vijay Parthasarthy (FIFA’s competitions manager) — who were in Pune yesterday, will be visiting the 55,000-seater stadium in Navi Mumbai this morning (8:30am) and will spend an hour inspecting the premises.
“The capacity of the refurbished Cooperage Stadium is very less. It would be odd to host a tournament of the stature of the U-17 World Cup at a stadium that has only 5,000 seats. So, as the delegation is headed to the Mumbai airport from Pune (en route to Goa) in the morning, we will be stopping at the Dr DY Patil Stadium to check out the venue,” a Western India Football Association official, who did not wish to be named, told MiD DAY yesterday.
President of the DY Patil Sports Academy, Vijay Patil said he was proud that the venue was shortlisted by FIFA. “An event of this magnitude is great for the country and I’m flattered that our stadium has been short-listed to host it. While the outfield will require some work since we are primarily a cricket venue, in terms of logistics the stadium possesses everything needed to be able to host this World Cup.”
The source added that the FIFA delegation will also inspect Bombay Gymkhana and the University Ground in Marine Lines next to Wankhede Stadium, as training venues for the Cooperage Stadium.
The delegation is expected to reach Goa today and will return to Mumbai to inspect the Cooperage tomorrow. They will then head to Bangalore on February 24, Kochi (February 25), Delhi (February 26), Guwahati (February 27) and Kolkata (February 28) before eliminating two cities from the eight that have been shortlisted.