Following a request by the AIFF, FIFA has agreed to change the venue of India’s group stage matches in the FIFA U-17 World Cup from Mumbai to New Delhi. After initially wanting India’s group stage matches to be played in Mumbai, the AIFF requested for a change in venue after pressure from the sports ministry, according to a report by NDTV. The government felt that it would be more appropriate for New Delhi to host the home team’s matches.
The Local Organising Committee said in a statement, “Following a request from the AIFF to hold the group matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 in which India are playing in New Delhi, and the fruitful discussions between the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the local government, FIFA has agreed to amend the match schedule.”
FIFA’s Head of Tournaments, Jaime Yarza said, “Attendance, especially in the venue where the home team plays its matches, is one of the priorities of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, crucial to achieving the purpose of better positioning football in the country, so the government’s commitment in this regard is highly appreciated. The presence of the secretary of sports at the meetings concerning the state of the works in the stadium and training sites sends a positive message and reflects the strong involvement of the authorities.”
One of the concerns surrounding the tournament is pollution levels in the host cities, and in particular in New Delhi. Speaking on the same, Yarza said, “We expect this involvement to extend into the area of pollution prevention, which has been an important topic discussed in relation to the tournament, in particular in Delhi. We are now expecting an action response plan to prevent pollution levels from affecting the tournament, which ideally should continue beyond the tournament.”