New Delhi [India], May 27 (ANI): The All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das has said he is 'quite hopeful' that the venues, scheduled to host the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, will be ready in time.
Das was speaking in a webinar arranged by the Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) Asia entitled 'Sports Industry in India'.
"These are unforeseen circumstances, and there have been some setbacks. But three of the five venues have already hosted the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017 and these do not require much of changes," AIFF official website quoted Das as saying.
"Among the other two venues -- Bhubaneswar and Ahmedabad -- most of the work is on schedule. In Odisha, we are working closely with the State government, and also in Ahmedabad. We are quite hopeful that the venues will be ready in time," he added.
The tournament, initially scheduled to take place this year, will take place from February 17 to March 7, 2021, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it will keep the original eligibility criteria, that is, players born on or after January 1, 2003, and on or before December 31, 2005.
Footballing activities in India currently stay suspended owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Das also went on to mention that the preparatory activities for the U-17 probables would start soon.
"Right now our coach is back in Sweden, while the players are back at their respective residences. There are some travel restrictions but we are working on how and when we can safely restart the camp," he said.
"The coach is quite hopeful because this is a situation that each is team facing. So we are all on a level playing field. We had a number of exposure tours planned for the team but we will have to revisit those plans," Das added.
While there have been challenges in many sectors due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Das believes that this time has shown the world of sports the way for digitisation, as a number of seminars and courses have been held online.
"There have been travel issues and the people have been practising social distancing. But we have seen that a lot of things can be done online. We have helped SAI (Sports Authority of India) organise a coaching course, which was attended by around 1,000 coaches from across the country," stated Das.
"I don't think so many coaches would have been able to join had it not been an online discipline. We had our Head of Coach Education Savio (Madeira), Senior Men's Team Head Coach Igor (Stimac), Technical Director Doru, and even Croatia World Cup coach (Zlatko) Dalic instructing the coaches," he continued.
The AIFF General Secretary further informed that the Federation has itself conducted its Executive Committee meeting, the Technical Committee meeting, and also the Women's Committee meeting online, as well as a few Refereeing programmes. (ANI)