Kolkata, Sep 10 (IANS) The Salt Lake Stadium was on Sunday handed over to FIFA with less than a month to go for the start of the U-17 World Cup which gets underway on October 6.
The colossal venue will host the final on October 28 along with five Group F matches and one Group E game. There will be one round-of-16, a quarterfinal and a third place tie also.
The first game here will be between England and Chile on October 8.
“Ninety-eight per cent of the work is done and the remaining two per cent will be over in a month’s time,” state Sports Minister Aroop Biswas told reporters here.
“The work began on February 1, 2015 and after putting in tireless work. Many say it’s best in Asia but we can proudly say that it’s of International standard and the best in the world,” he added.
Principal Secretary Saeed Ahmed Baba signed the official document to hand over the stadium to FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) tournament director Javier Ceppi.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will formally inaugurate the stadium from Uttar Kanya, the branch Secretariat of Government of West Bengal in Siliguri, North Bengal.
Biswas said after installing bucket seats, the capacity of the stadium came down to 80,000-plus, but for security reasons FIFA has further reduced the official capacity to 66,687.
“You have seen this since it’s open and I don’t think you had ever thought that this would look up to this level. The work that’s been done is fantastic,” Ceppi said.
“The handover means we take certain responsibility and certain decision making with regards to last phase of rectification and work so it becomes fully operational for tournament. Starting now, if all rectifiation as per our requirement and operational planning of the tournament,” he added.
On the work that is left, Ceppi said: “Work on outer areas of the venue, media tribune and VIP area is still left.”
“We want to make sure that the stadium is ready in safety, security and entertainment purposes as well,” Ceppi added.