GUWAHATI, March 5 � The world�s governing body for football (FIFA) has already allotted the 2017 U-17 World Cup to India and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) has spotted Guwahati as a probable venue for one of the six groups.
Accordingly a high-level venue inspection panel of FIFA, AFC and AIFF, led by Inaki Alvarez, Deputy Director Competition and Head Events, FIFA visited the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Sarusajai here on February 27. As per reports available, the team found the stadium satisfactory, but as per FIFA guidelines it needs some renovation and other works in order to host the high-level FIFA championship.
The State Sports Department gave a powerpoint presentation to the FIFA team and clarified their views. The team was satisfied with the presentation but they wanted to make sure that the projects will be completed in time.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister and the Sports Minister were quite optimistic that the stadium will be given a proper facelift so that the venue could be finalised for the 2017 World Cup.
Meanwhile, the State Finance Department has sanctioned Rs 12.5 crore for the uplift of the stadium.
Guwahati is also spotted as a probable venue for next September�s IMG Reliance Indian Premier League football championship with a city-based team. For that the Sarusajai stadium has to fulfil some basic requirements, including the ground, floodlights, etc. If the Finance Department does not release the fund at the earliest, the renovation work will get delayed.
Assam Football Association secretary Ankur Dutta informed that the file is gathering dust at the Finance Department.
Dutta revealed that the ball is now in the Finance Department�s court. If the fund is not released within a very short span of time than Assam will miss the bus to host two giant football tournaments.
The FIFA team will visit the city in October this year. If the Sarusajai infrastructure gets a uplift by virtue of the Indian Premier League, the FIFA team might be convinced that the State has the sincerity in hosting the U-17 World Cup matches.
Now everything will depend on the Finance Department, whether they want to make it or break it, opined a worried Dutta.