GUWAHATI, Aug 22 - In a bid to provide some happiness to the people at a time when the State is going through the worst phase owing to floods, the official winner�s trophy of the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be in display here this weekend.
Tournament director of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Javier Ceppi said: �We know about the very critical situation that the State of Assam is suffering because of the floods and we understand that all the attention and efforts of the government and people is focused on helping those in need.
�We are trying to bring some happiness to the people of Assam in this very complicated time, which is why Assam will be the second State in the country that will see the official winner�s trophy of the FIFA U-17 World Cup. It will be in display this weekend in Guwahati. We are also planning other football activities too because of the love for football that people of Assam have. It can help in bring a little moment of happiness in this time of hardship. We know that it may not be big, but whatever we can do to help, we will do.�
The official winner�s trophy will be on public display on August 26 and 27 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium and Judge�s Field.
Asked about the recent decline in ticket sales in Guwahati, the Chilean said: �The sales of tickets has picked up in Guwahati. In fact, all the inventory that has been put up for sale for Category 2 for the semifinal has already been bought by fans, which is quite encouraging. With very high profile teams and players in Guwahati for the first round, we expect the inventory for all the group stage matches to be sold quite soon. We are on a good track to meet the mission of having a full Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium for all matches of the World Cup�
Guwahati will be hosting nine matches including a semifinal and a quarterfinal. The city will be the home for Group E matches besides hosting one round of 16 match. Group E features Honduras, Japan, New Caledonia and France. The U-17 World Cup will be held across six cities in the country from October 6 to 28.
Regarding the remaining work at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium as well as the practice venues, Ceppi said: �Most of the works at the stadium and training sites have been completed. There are certain areas that need for the monsoon to end so that they can be undertaken, such as the exterior painting of the stadium, levelling some areas outside the main facility, landscaping, among others. We are not concerned about the pace and status of works in Guwahati and we are quite sure that it would be up to the mark for the tournament.
�All the facilities are coming up quite nicely and the renovations that were made will definitely give Guwahati world class facilities for the tournament and for the future. When the teams visited, they were quite impressed with the conditions of the pitches, particularly the one at SAI Centre, and now all have improved even further, so we feel that things are in a positive track.�
Ceppi also thanked the State government by saying: �State Government has had a big role to play on this and we are extremely thankful to Chief Minister and all the authorities of government of Assam, because the FIFA U-17 World Cup is a priority in Assam�s policy of becoming the sports capital of the country. With the passion that people in the Northeast have for sports, the development of facilities to a world class level and the conduct of the largest football event India has ever seen, we feel that Assam is indeed on track to become the sports capital of India.�