New Delhi: On the advice of the Sports Ministry, the All India Football Federation has requested the world body, FIFA to allot India's group matches of the Under- 17 World Cup to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.
The Under-17 World Cup will be held across six cities in the country from October 6-28.
Usually, the host country of a FIFA tournament is placed in Group A but when the schedule of the Under-17 World Cup was announced in Kolkata on March 27 after an inspection visit by a FIFA team, Navi Mumbai's D Y Patil Stadium was to host the Group A matches.
New Delhi was to stage Group B matches, besides two Round of 16 games. If FIFA agrees to the AIFF's request to allot India's matches to New Delhi, a reworking of group venues will be required.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said that it has requested the FIFA that the matches involving India be staged in New Delhi.
"On the advice of the government, the AIFF has made a request to the FIFA to see if the group matches involving India can be held in New Delhi," Das told PTI today.
Asked if he expects the FIFA to agree to AIFF's request, Das said, "I cannot say as of now with 100 per cent certainty that New Delhi will host the group matches involving India. We have made a request and it is for the FIFA to take a decision. Let us see what happens."
"Unfortunately, Delhi cannot have matches after October 15 due to high pollution level after Diwali. The government felt since Delhi is the National Capital we can request FIFA to hold the matches involving India here," he added.
The Union Government has spent a lot of money for the prestigious tournament, the first FIFA event to be held in India, and it has been learnt that the Sports Ministry is keen to host the group matches involving India in New Delhi.
The officials of the Local Organising Committee have also talked earlier about the possible presence of the Prime Minister at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here during the tournament.
The FIFA team that announced the schedule after its inspection visit last month has not allotted any marquee event in New Delhi due to concerns over high pollution level after the Diwali festival. The FIFA team had said that New Delhi can host matches only upto October 16.
The draw of the tournament will be held on July 7.