Bhubaneswar: Odisha has been one of the hottest destinations for the last couple of years as far as hosting international sporting events are concerned. And why not? The state has successfully organised the likes of Asian Athletics Championships (2017), Men’s Hockey World Cup (2018), to name a few.
Tuesday marked another milestone day for the state authorities, as Kalinga Stadium became the first venue to get a provisional clearance for the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, 2020.
This is not the first time a football tournament will be happening in Odisha. Earlier, the Kalinga Stadium has hosted events like Super Cup (2018, 2019), Women’s Gold Cup (2019) and the one-off Indian Super League encounter between Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC in 2018.
Currently, the stadium is under renovation, with the main playing area has been completely dug up to lay a new surface. The infrastructure including the roofs above the galleries which were affected by catastrophic cyclone ‘Fani’ are also yet to be back in shape.
Commenting on the developments, sports secretary Vishal Dev said, “The works have already been started to get the stadium ready as quickly as possible. As we have successfully hosted the other international events, we hope to do the same in this event too.”
According to FIFA guidelines, it is mandatory to have four practice pitches for a particular venue. While the Kalinga Stadium has one itself, the other three are Capital High School (one) and Police Battalion Ground (two).
Dev, who was present at the press conference, also stated that the next round of inspection by FIFA will be done either at the end of 2019 or in January 2020… If everything goes well, the city will be announced as one of the four venues to host the mega tournament. The other four cities on the FIFA radar are Kolkata, Navi Mumbai, Goa and Ahmedabad.