Crores of rupees goes down the drains; Northeast fans question shifting of FIFA Under 17 WC venue to Kolkata
October 24, 2017: The people from Northeast are very upset with the FIFA Under 17 World cup match being shifted from Guwahati's Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium to Kolkata's Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan at the very last moment. England and Brazil were supposed to play the match on October 25 which is being dubbed as a virtual final between the two most popular teams in the tournament.
It is not just the people from Guwahati and Assam alone who feel badly let down but also from Meghalaya and Nagaland as well.
"I had bought my tickets a day earlier and now I can't travel to Kolkata and stay there overnight to see the semi final", says Andy Lyngdoh, a keen football enthusiast adding that the reason given by the organizers are not satisfactory .
The pitch at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium was severely affected during the quarterfinal match between Ghana and Mali on Saturday which was played under incessant rain.
But there are others who attribute this to the Bengal Lobby who wanted to encash this match to fill up their coffer.
"The Kolkata lobby is very strong and I think that they wanted to host this match", says Temjen Jamir from Nagaland, stating further that even the State Government should have made enough provisions to see that the playing field was not damaged or repaired.
"The Rain did not hit just Guwahati but also the whole of east which includes Kolkata so why should only our fields be unsuitable for the match" , says Dhiraj Bora from Guwahati .
FIFA on its part released this statement, "Despite the great efforts by all involved parties, including the authorities of Guwahati to preserve the pitch, FIFA has taken this decision following consultations with both teams in order to safeguard the players' health and to ensure the best playing conditions,".
The State Government on its part has been lost for a proper explanation and questions are now being raised on the preparedness of the local authorities.
"Northeast India which has become the nerve centre of Indian Football has once again lost out to a great match due to a combination of nature and poor planning' says Sudhir Basumatary, father to a 9 year old child with plans to take his son for the match and now cannot explain to his child why this would not be possible.
"Nature is something we can't control but the authorities locally will have a lot to answer, because the rains which hit the region in the past few days did not affect Assam alone but also Bengal where the match is being shifted.
Also as stated by the Ghana coach Samuel Fabian who had clearly said that the match should have been postponed and played on another date after his side lost to Mali 1-2.That match damaged according to FIFA the grounds beyond repair. But the Damage because of this shifting is way beyond repair too.
It may be mentioned that the FIFA inspection team were left "highly impressed" after overseeing the preparations at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, one of the six venues selected to host matches in the U-17 World Cup in March this year.
As per information available on the internet HERE, the value of the tender issued for the Renovation And Modification Works Of Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium At Sarusajai, Guwahati Civil, Interior And Services Works, Part-I has been valued at Rs. 4.93 Crore