In a setback for South Mumbai football fans, Cooperage ground in Colaba is unlikely to be one of the venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. dna has learnt that DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai is likely to get the nod. This, after a two-member FIFA delegation inspected the Cooperage and the DY Patil Stadium last week.
The reason for Cooperage unlikely to host the mega event is that it has only one artificial turf. In order to host a tournament of this stature, it needs two practice pitches, both artificial turf. Western India Football Association (WIFA) officials had suggested Bombay Gymkhana and University Sports Pavilion as the possible training centres, but the FIFA delegates were adamant that the practice turf should be the same as that of the stadium.
Also, since it is a FIFA event, a lot of spectators are expected to come and watch the matches. The current seating capacity of Cooperage is only 5,000 while DY Patil Stadium can seat more than 50,000.
The delegation – Inaki Alvarez, FIFA's director of competitions, and Vijay Parthsarathy, FIFA's competition manager – visited the ground on Saturday. Their visit to the stadium came as a surprise as it was not part of their plans earlier.
The DY Patil Stadium in Nerul has only hosted cricket matches so far including the Indian Premier League. But that doesn't seem to be a problem. A source said: "The matches will be played in 2017, so there is ample time to make available the facilities at DY Patil Stadium needed as per FIFA regulations."
FIFA still hasn't decided on the six stadiums across the country. They are still in the evaluation process and it could take a year.
Seeing the pathetic state of the Cooperage, FIFA stepped in 2011 and granted them $2.5 million to refurbish the stadium. The falling of the rupee saw the cost go up by half a million USD. Even though there is a swanky new stadium, it may still not be enough.