Kolkata, Aug 23: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said FIFA President Gianni Infantino will be extended the status of “state guest” during the U-17 World Cup final to be held at the Salt Lake Stadium here on October 28.
“The FIFA President will be our state guest. This was decided in the meeting today,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat after parleys with Local organising Committee (LoC) tournament director Javier Ceppi.
She pledged to wholeheartedly support the showpiece hosted by India for the first time.
The final of the 24-team meet will be held at the Salt Lake stadium on October 28. The competition starts October 6.
Kolkata will be hosting ten matches starting with five Group F fixtures involving Chile, England, Iraq and Mexico and one Group E game featuring Japan and New Caledonia. Besides the summit clash, one round of 16, one quarter-final and a third-place tie will be witnessed here.
“We are proud to host the matches of the U-17 World Cup. This is a big tournament so we all should cooperate with them. We should use the opportunity.
“‘Esho Esho amar ghore esho’ (come to my abode) using this slogan we will welcome them,” Banerjee said picking up lines from a song composed by Rabindranath Tagore.
At a meeting with organisers of the community Durga Puja committees, she stressed on dismantling the flexes, hoardings and canopies after the five-day festival to ensure that roads remain clear when teams come visiting for the World Cup.
“By October 5, the flexes and canopies should be pulled down so that the visiting teams like Chile, Mexico and the UK don’t have any problem,” Banerjee said.
The Durga Puja, the biggest festival in this part of the country, would be celebrated from September 26-30 this year.
Banerjee also launched the host city Logo of Kolkata.
The logo, a representation of the state’s heritage and the official emblem for the tournament will form an essential link in the promotions and communications regarding the host city. It will be important in building anticipation and interest for the event at a local level.
Also present at the launch was state Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Aroop Biswas.