Kolkata to be Under-17 World Cup's Champion host: CM
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged all including Durga Puja organisers, local clubs and non-government organisations to cooperate in making Kolkata the best city to host Fifa Under 17 Football World Cup, which will be telecast live in 211 territories in the world.
Banerjee on Wednesday held a high-level meeting with the Fifa authorities at Nabanna, followed by the launch of the "host city" logo of Kolkata where a total of 10 matches of the tournament, including the Final, will be held. She said, after the meeting, that football is the most popular game in the world and it is our duty to turn it into a festival as Fifa has given the opportunity to Bengal to host the international tournament.
"The Under 17 World Cup is going to start on August 8, which is soon after Durga Puja which is the biggest festival of the state. We are proud of getting the opportunity to host the tournament as football, which is the most popular game in the world, is today coming to "biswasera" Bengal. We had a detailed discussion with the Fifa authorities and providing all necessary support to them," the Chief Minister said, adding that the opportunity must be properly utilised to project the state in front of the entire world.
Banerjee said, "We must keep our city neat and tidy. I would request all Puja organisers to dismantle bamboo structures of Puja pandals by October 5 so the city looks clean".
Banerjee further said that Fifa president Gianni Infantino will be a state guest. More than 500 television and radio channels will visit the city to cover the event from all over the world.
Many from different countries including Mexico and Chile will start coming to the city even before Puja. "The guests will be taken to football clubs in the city and they will also be invited to attend the Durga Puja Carnival at Red Road, scheduled to be held on October 3. So it is our responsibility to ensure that our guests from different countries take back pleasant memories from Kolkata," said Banerjee.
Banerjee has also been invited to be present at the awards ceremony after the Finals which will be held at Swami Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Kirangan on October 28.
Javier Cappi, Tournament Director of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Fifa Under 17 World Cup, said, "We are extremely happy that this is happening in Kolkata. The city is also hosting Fifa and referees' headquarters and international broadcasting control centres."
"We hope Salt Lake Stadium will be full. We are thankful to the state government. The Chief Minister has cooperated a lot. The state government is doing everything possible. Without them, it would not have been possible," he added
The facilities have been hugely renovated and Swami Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Kirangan has been developed to a world class facility. We are just waiting for the handover of the venue which would be around on September 10."
He said: "This is a huge platform for the state and the city. I think this is our duty to project Kolkata as the sporting capital of India and even Asia."