FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Loose ends in crowd safety around Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi

Inside the stadium, the playing field is looking in its best shape ever. Efforts to make the stadium and its surroundings look as clean as possible are in an overdrive. And the Indian team has had the best preparations it could have asked for – thanks to the All India Football Federation.

By Jaspreet Sahni | Last Updated: Oct 05, 2017, 15:17 PM IST
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Loose ends in crowd safety around Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi

New Delhi: The buzz around it may not be similar but India, the first-time host of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, is pulling out all stops to make sure it doesn’t remain the ‘sleeping giant’ of world football just in cold print. However, in a country that is second most populous in the world, setting a precedent in hosting a tournament of such magnitude goes much beyond performance on the field, infrastructure, advertisers, logistics, TRPs and the like. Safety of the spectators, the most important stakeholders in sports, is paramount; but a day before India’s opening match against the USA here, Zee Media spotted some hazardous spots around the Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium.

Safety is not just about security checks or gunmen behind the pile of sacks. It’s also about clearing everything that can cause an accident. The JLN Stadium is in need of running such a check before it sees footfall in thousands on Friday.JLN 2

Unattended open wires can be seen at various spots on the walkway that runs along the wall of the stadium. It’s the approach the fans will take on match-days and can lead to accidents. It will be foolish to argue whether power runs through those naked wires or not. The simple fact that these have been left as is shows the administrators in poor light. And in turn, it paints a wrong picture of the country in front of international fans, media and officials who have arrived for the event.

At another spot along the sidewalk, a part of the barbwire fence has dislodged from the top of the wall and is hanging all the way down to the ground. One can walk around it but it remains a safety hazard and possible cause of an accident.

Calls to the office of JLN Stadium administrator PK Raghav remained unanswered.

Inside the stadium, the playing field is looking in its best shape ever. Efforts to make the stadium and its surroundings look as clean as possible are in an overdrive. And the Indian team has had the best preparations it could have asked for – thanks to the All India Football Federation.JLN 1

But while the boys wear heart on the sleeve for the nation on the pitch, a blame game is the last thing India would want to see off the pitch, should such ignored safety hazards become cause of a tragedy.