Goa has been provisionally selected as the sixth venue to host the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017, tournament director Javier Ceppi has confirmed.
"Goa has been provisionally selected as venue for U-17 WC 2017 and joins Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Navi Mumbai and Delhi," Ceppi, also director of the U-17 World Cup to be held in Chile this year, tweeted.
Ceppi, who was appointed by the FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) as Tournament Director for the mega event, stated that the Western Indian state will also be hosting the U-16 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in 2016.
He has urged the six provisional centres to gear up with their infrastructure and pitch conditions work, ahead of the final FIFA inspection by September next year.
He also reminded everybody of the significance the tournament holds for India.
"The FIFA Under-17 World Cup will be the most important football tournament ever to have taken place in India. Make no question about that," said Ceppi at a meeting in Goa.
"It will have 209 countries on the qualifying stage, 24 countries on the final stage. India will get a direct entry.
"It is the first direct entry after 87 years of the event (for India). Until then from now up to September 2016, Goa and other provisional venues, must comply with all the requirements," said Ceppi.
He revealed that a list of 8,532 requirements has already been brought to the notice of the Sports Authority of Goa (SAG); the requirements need to be complied with by September 2016.
The current requirements state that the grounds at Vasco, Benaulim and Cuncolim need to be restructured to training venues as per international standards, apart from building a fourth training ground at Utorda.
A budget of ₹15 crore has been sanctioned for the work.
"There are 8,532 points that need to be considered but most importantly we need four good training grounds with floodlights and one stadium with an immaculate pitch, all besides four dressing rooms," said Ceppi.
He is also pleased on a personal level on Goa being selected as a provisional venue to host the World Cup matches.
"It's a tournament that boosts the tourism and economy by at least $10 million (£6.3 million) per state and $260 million (£165 million) on a nationwide basis. I am (also) pleased that Goa has been given the opportunity," said Ceppi.
Besides the aforementioned venues, Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai have also been included in the shortlist, but they will be confirmed the provisional status only if other centres fail to comply with the standards.
Each venue in the 2017 World Cup is expected to host six group matches from a total of 52 matches between 16 participant countries.