Call it apathy or ignorance by the concerned people, Pune's chances of hosting the Under-17 FIFA World Cup 2017 looks a distant dream. The officials at the Sports and Youth Affairs, Maharashtra state, are yet to issue a letter of acceptance.
The delay in giving a go-ahead by the state government is because they are unaware of the rules and norms of FIFA.
"We have submitted all the documents to the Sports and Youth Affairs office at the Central Building in Pune. It also includes the FIFA agreement and the announcement of the dates. This lethargic approach could cost Pune the chance to host the FIFA matches," Pyarelal Choudhary, vice-president of the Poona District Football Association, told dna on Monday.
"The dates of the matches will be decided a year before the mega event by FIFA but the state government officials want the dates of the matches now," said Choudhary.
In one of the letters written to Poona District Football Association (PDFA), Shirish Karle, commissioner, Sports and Youth Affairs, Maharashtra state, has stated: "...It is a matter of pride for Pune and the stadium to host Under-17 FIFA World Cup at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex. In this regard you have not mentioned the dates for which you require the stadium."
The PDFA official said: "We had twice requested the Shiv Chhatrapati Kridapeeth Office, Mahalunge, Balewadi, but the concerned office are yet to reply positively.
"The FIFA officials are to visit the city on February 21 and if the letter from the state government is not received, Pune hosting the mega event would become a distant dream."
Meanwhile, one of the officials from the Shiv Chhatrapati Krida Peeth Office, on condition of anonymity, stated that the files have been moved and it is left to Mantralaya in Mumbai to decide over the issue.
"We have done all that is possible from our end and we are awaiting the go ahead from Mantralaya," he said.
Pune was among the two other venues handpicked by the Western Indian Football Association. Mumbai and Goa were the others. The FIFA officials will visit all the three venues – Pune (Feb 21), Goa (Feb 22) and Mumbai (Feb 23) before zeroing in on one from this part of the country.