The Bengal state is taking all measures to contain the aura of football in the state with the assistance of AIFF.
On the eve of FIFA U-17 World Cup final, amidst all of the excitement, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee promised the AIFF President Praful Patel to lease 15 acres of land at just ₹1 for a time period of 90 years.
The deal comes after an ecstatic display of support from the Bengal fanatics towards the World Cup as they accounted for 45% of the total attendance at the event. 608, 799 people stormed the gates of the prestigious Salt Lake stadium over 12 matches at the venue. The attendance in the Final match was just three seats short of being a full house, that too when India failed to reach the showpiece.
Talking of the Salt Lake Stadium, the state had invested an amount of ₹100 crore in the renovation and enhancement of the jewel in the state’s capital. “It is on a par with all football stadia that has hosted a World Cup final. In terms of looks, it gets a 10,” said Javier Ceppi, head of the local organising committee for the World Cup.
It took 105 meetings and the involvement of multiple state departments to get the 33-year-old venue renovated with a further assistance by the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and other engineering institutes.
The emphatic response to the event made the All India Football Federation consider an enhancement plan in the state of Bengal, in a bid to reach new heights, which was duly accepted by the CM. “The state has decided to lease out a 15 acre land in New Town to the AIFF to set up the National Centre of Excellence for football. A football stadium and a football academy would also be there,” state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee today said after the cabinet meeting.
Reported by Business Standard, the decision was taken by the West Bengal cabinet to grant the promised piece of land for 90 years at just Re 1. Patel, on October 26, had said that as a continuing effort after the U-17 World Cup, a National Centre of Excellence is in the offing at Rajarhat New Town with help from FIFA. He later added that the national senior men’s and women’s team, as well as the age group teams, will be housed in this centre.