120,000 school kids will watch FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup© Twitter
More than one lakh school students are expected to watch the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with a section of each of the three stadia hosting the matches being reserved for them, the world governing body of the sport said on Monday. The initiative was undertaken jointly by the tournament’s Local Organising Committee and FIFA at the three venues in Bhubaneswar, Margao and Navi Mumbai. The tournament began on October 11 and will end on October 30. “The presence of a special set of fans seen consistently cheering from the stands – young boys and girls – has been facilitated by a special community engagement initiative undertaken jointly by the tournament’s Local Organising Committee and FIFA.
“Thousands of young children across the three venues have enjoyed some world-class footballing action, and many more will get a chance to do the same in the coming days,” the FIFA said in a release.
FIFA Director of Tournaments Jaime Yarza said, “The matches where the kids are dancing, celebrating, and laughing created the ‘pictures of the day’ for me.” The joy of watching the tournament take-off is even sweeter for him because of the uncertainty that surrounded its fate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a hard time for a lot of people, especially for those who were here for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017,” said Yarza.
“Having experienced the passion that we did back then, it was hard to be unsure if it (the 2022 tournament) could happen in India. So, now seeing the games being played, it’s a real pleasure for all of us.” Special arrangements have also been made in the stadia to ensure that the young fans of the sport enjoy the experience of coming to a game thoroughly.
“Through this tournament, we want to promote the ideas of equality and inclusion. We want these boys and girls to come and see how well these young women can play,” said Nandini Arora, one of the Project Directors of the tournament.
“A section of each stadium has been reserved for the school kids. Around 3000 of them watched the first match in Bhubaneswar while in Navi Mumbai, 5000-6000 were in attendance. The number is going to go up during the final.”
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