No WC U-17 matches in Jharkhand due to lack of infrastructure
Jamshedpur: Jharkhand cannot host any of the matches of the Under-17 FIFA World Cup as the stadia of the state were not equipped with the infrastructure required to stage such high-profile matches, Jharkhand Football Association Secretary Gulam Rabbani said.
"JFA had put forward a proposal to host a couple of matches of the U-17 World Cup, but AIFF did not consider it because of lack of facilities," Rabbani told PTI.
Besides unavailability of flood light facility at the Keenan Stadium and JRD Sports Complex here, Jamshedpur did not have an airport, a mandatory to host World Cup matches. The Sonari airport here is primarily used for bringing in chartered planes of the TATA Group.
"Ranchi has an airport but the ground condition was not up to the mark at Morahbadi Stadium there," Rabbani said.
"The JFA had discussed the issue with AIFF president Praful Patel who said the ground was below the required standard and it lacked synthetic grass," he said. In 2012, AIFF had to shift the venue for Federation Cup from Ranchi to Jamshedpur in the last hours due to unplayable ground condition at Morahbadi stadium, though it had been renovated the previous to host the National Games.
The Jharkhand Olympic Association, which organised the 34th National Games at Ranchi in 2011, said the existing facility at Morahbadi Stadium was of world-standard.
Even if there was any shortfall, the JOA, JFA and the state government could develop it to match the required standard, JOA Secretary General S M Hashmi said when his reaction was sought.
"It would be held in 2017 and we have enough time," Hashmi said. India was chosen as the host country for U-17 World Cup by the FIFA executive committee in December last year. By virtue of being the host country, India will take part in the 24-nation tournament for the first time in its history.
India have hosted Asian Football Confederation`s Youth Championships (Under-20) in 2006 and the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008 but never they have hosted any FIFA tournament.