Infrastructure will be biggest legacy: Ceppi
New Delhi: Top-class infrastructure will be the biggest legacy the FIFA U-17 World Cup will leave behind in India, local organising committee's tournament director Javier Ceppi said on Tuesday.
For long, the lack of world class infrastructure has been an impediment to the development of football in the country, before things started to change for the better with the first-ever FIFA tournament coming to India.
"Infrastructure is going to be the biggest legacy of the World Cup, you have seen how things have been," Ceppi said three days before the start of the tournament.
Apart from infrastructure, which has come a long way, Ceppi said millions of Indians taking to the sport will be another legacy of the tournament.
"11 million kids taking to football in the country is another legacy. It has brought about a football revolution in India," the Chilean added.
The Mission 11 million, a football initiative aimed at taking the game to nearly 15,000 schools in 37 cities across the country, was set rolling by former sports minister Vijay Goel and All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel at the Nehru Stadium here earlier this year.
Ceppi assured that India is 100 per cent ready to host the tournament.
"We are in a very good position at the moment as far as preparation is concerned. Everything has been put in place," he said.
Ceppi was not forthcoming when asked to compare the preparation between India and his home country Chile, which has hosted the last edition of the age-group tournament two years ago.
"I don't believe in comparisons, I have always maintained that. I can only say that India has been right up there," he said. Ceppi has also worked with the LOCs of the previous two editions of the U-17 World Cup, in UAE (2013) and Chile (2015). He was evasive on the subject of opening ceremony for the tournament, saying discussion are ongoing between the concerned stakeholders.
He wished the Indian team luck and said the players should not be too bothered about the results, urging them to give their best shot.
He spoke after the tournament's official cars handover ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Hyundai Motors India Ltd. has the exclusive rights to provide transportation to FIFA officials during the tournament.
Present in the event at JLN on Tuesday were Y K Koo, MD and CEO (HMIL) and Martin Nussbaumer, FIFA's marketing operations group leader, besides Ceppi.