hiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has spent Rs 66 crore for staging the upcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, sports minister A.C. Moideen said here on Thursday.
Kochi will host six league games in addition to one pre-quarterfinal and a quarterfinal. The response to the event has been good with the tickets for the opening day fixture on October 7 being sold out.
On the opening day Brazil take on Spain at 5 pm and in the second match DPR Korea take on Niger at 8 pm.
Addressing reporters here, Moideen said that the Center has also contributed Rs 12.44 crore.
"The state government has spent this much money for the basic infrastructure, which includes revamping the venue and also four practice grounds. The Rs 66 crore also includes Rs 17.7 crore for upkeep of the roads and beautification of the places in and around the venue," said Moideen.
He pointed out that the state government's role is limited to see that the infrastructure is ready, while the marketing aspect is taken care of by FIFA, which includes selling of tickets and managing the guests.
He said as part of the promotion of football in the state, numerous programs are being held to popularize the event.
"On September 27 from 3 pm to 7 pm, across the state which includes 941 local bodies, 87 municipalities, six corporations, more than 7,000 educational institutions and in clubs and other places, we have organized a program -- A One Million Goals -- where ordinary people, celebrities and politicians will try to score a goal into an open goal post. Every person will be allowed to take only one shot and from each location where this is organized, the numbers will be collected and we expect to get a figure of more than one million goals," said Moideen.
He added that there would be a torch rally that begins from the northern district of Kasaragod on October 3 and will reach Thiruvananthapuram on October 6. It would be led by former Indian football captain I.M. Vijayan.
"From Thiruvananthapuram a football will be passed on October 3 and it will be passed by people including celebrities until it reaches Kochi on October 6. We will also hold football exhibition matches, here and in Kozhikode between teams drawn from politicians, civil service officials and the media. Moreover on September 22 there will be a roadshow of the U-17 World Cup in and around Kochi," he added.
The tickets here are priced at Rs 60, Rs 150 and Rs 300 and are available only online.
"We will see what we can do to give free passes to school children," Moideen said.
The total seating capacity at the venue has been reduced to 41,000 taking into account the security concerns.