FIFA delegation confident after UAE venue inspections

WAM ABU DHABI: A FIFA delegation has just wrapped up a venue inspection spanning six FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 host cities across the Emirates. Stadiums in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Fujairah, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah all played host to the delegation, with the overall conclusion that the venues are making good progress preparing for the international tournament, which kicks off in October.

During the six-day visit the team assessed all six match stadia and over 30 training venues, to assess the progress made by each host city to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013, which is taking place from October 17 to November 8. The delegation began its inspection visit with the Fujairah Stadium on Saturday, 20 April, and completed the check-up with Rashid Stadium at Al Ahli Club in Dubai yesterday.

A FIFA representative, in a press release, said: “The objective of these inspections is to assess how well the venues are making headway with their facilities in preparation to host the tournament in October. There has definitely been progress since our last visit to the Emirates but there is still work to be done before the venues are 100 per cent ready.

The venues and training sites will have to be ready by the end of June ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 official draw in August where representatives from all the qualifying teams will be conducting a final inspection.” The Local Organising Committee (LOC) was also present during the visit and Mohammed Abdulla bin Bdoua, Tournament Director, commented: The FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 is the largest football event in the history of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The FIFA tournament takes place every two years and is one of the biggest international football events in the world.

Running from 17th October – 8th November 2013, the event takes place across five of the Emirates of the UAE. A total of 52 matches will be played over a three week period in six of the UAE’s top stadiums – Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah Stadium in Fujairah, Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah, Rashid Stadium in Dubai and Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain.

The final 24 qualified nations will begin the tournament in six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group automatically qualifying for the Round of 16. The four best third-placed teams from the Group stages will also progress to the knock-out stages, all aiming to reach the final match on Friday 8th November 2013.

The 2013 edition of the tournament will be the 15th FIFA U-17 World Cup. After the FIFA World Cup , the Olympic Football Tournament and the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the FIFA U-17 World Cup is the fourth oldest FIFA competition.

From the tournament’s first edition in 1985 until 1993, matches were played over two 40-minute halves (extra time was ten minutes each way). In Ecuador in 1995, the standard duration of matches was increased to the traditional format of 45 minutes per half (with 15 minutes per half in extra time). In 2011, the Executive Committee abolished extra time for the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after a proposal put forward by the Medical Committee and the FIFA Task Force Football 2014.

As of 2007, the number of contenders was increased from 16 to 24. The slots for the FIFA U17 World Cup UAE 2013 are allocated to the Confederations as follows: AFC 4 (plus 1 additional slot for the hosts UAE), CAF 4, CONCACAF 4, CONMEBOL 4, UEFA 6, OFC 1.