World's premier footballing authority FIFA has taken charge of Kolkata's famed Salt Lake Stadium with just 26 days left for the FIFA U-17 World Cup to kick off. The West Bengal government ceremoniously handed over the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) to FIFA.
FIFA will now be maintaining the entire stadium until the World Cup ends on October 28th. West Bengal sports minister Arup Biswas addressed the media and said, "We are formally handing over the responsibility of the stadium to FIFA until the conclusion of the world cup as per rules."
Speaking about the stadium's renovation, Biswas told Goal, "The renovation work of the Salt Lake started in February 2015 and after two and a half years' effort, here we are. We have completed 98 per cent of the work. Some work in the outside part of the stadium and some in the media and VIP tribunes are left which will be completed soon."
He continued, "More than Rs.100 crores have been invested by the state government for the refurbishment of the stadium. The official capacity of the stadium is 80,000 but during the World Cup, keeping in mind the security concerns, the capacity has been reduced to 66,687."
The FIFA Under-17 World Cup director Javier Ceppi too expressed his happiness at the preparations and said, "I thank the West Bengal government and the PWD for renovating this stadium in a brilliant manner. Everyone knows how it was 2 years back and now look how the stadium looks. From here we take charge of the stadium and will hand it back again on October 29."
Ceppi was also asked if he would rate Salt Lake Stadium higher than others and he replied, "All the six stadiums are like our kids and it is impossible to choose among them. Of course, special attention was given to this one as the World Cup final will take place in Kolkata. Yuba Bharati gets full marks."
The Salt Lake stadium will play host to Group F in the U-17 World Cup consisting of England, Mexico, Iraq and Chile. The teams will reach the venue on 3rd October 2017.