Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 | Last Update : 02:59 AM IST

Spend money on football, not onceremonies: Fifa tells government

PTI
Published : Sep 9, 2017, 8:00 am IST
Updated : Sep 9, 2017, 8:01 am IST

During the course of this work, Fifa has been informed about the government’s interest in holding an opening ceremony,” Yarza said.

Former Colombian football star Carlos Valderrama (right) with ex-India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly at a promotional event in Kolkata on Friday. (Photo: AFP)
 Former Colombian football star Carlos Valderrama (right) with ex-India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly at a promotional event in Kolkata on Friday. (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: World football governing body Fifa is not comfortable with the Indian government’s plan of having an opening ceremony for the Under-17 World Cup, saying the money should instead be spent on the game.

The world body has insisted that Fifa tournaments do not have opening ceremonies but the sports ministry has been adamant about holding it for the event, beginning October 6. The sports ministry wanted to host an opening ceremony either on October 5 or on the opening day, just a few hours before the kick-off.

Asked what the world body thought about the government’s plan to hold an opening ceremony, Fifa’s head of tournaments Jaime Yarza said such a plan was not particularly welcome.

“Fifa and the local organising committee of the Fifa U-17 World Cup have been working very closely with the government of India to make the upcoming tournament a great success. 

During the course of this work, Fifa has been informed about the government’s interest in holding an opening ceremony,” Yarza said.

“To be in line with previous tournaments, and in the best interest of the sport, we believe that the main focus should remain on football and the players, and that the investment necessary for an opening ceremony is better deployed in the youth and in football development of the country — even more so now with the All India Football Federation’s ambitious plans to lay solid foundations for India’s footballing future,” he added.

The Under-17 World Cup, the first ever Fifa event India is hosting, will be played in six cities — New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Kochi and Margao — from October 6 to 28.

Yarza said the Indian government had offered unstinted support to the organisers to make the event successful.

Tags: fifa under-17 world cup, jaime yarza
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi