CHENNAI: From staging multiple Kolkata derby matches to playing host to Lionel Messi-led Argentina, the Salt Lake Stadium has had quite a few marquee events to its name. Now the stadium is set to add another jewel to its crown. Hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the city mad for the beautiful game!
The stadium has undergone a sea of change.
Renovation works started on February 1, 2015, and according to Javier Ceppi, tournament director of the LOC, the revamped stadium is at par with any world-class venue that has hosted a FIFA World Cup final.
“We have given it a 10 out of 10 rating. We have to thank the West Bengal government for completing the work in the stipulated time. The stadium has been handed to FIFA and only about 2 per cent of work remains to be completed,” he said. Work on outer areas like a subway, the Media and VIP Tribune are among other things that are in progress.
Once the largest stadium in Asia with a capacity of 1,20,000, the stadium can house around 80,000 now with bucket seats in place throughout.
“Keeping in mind the security concerns, the capacity has been reduced to 66,687, after FIFA enforced a guideline following a study with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority of the UK,” Ceppi added. That has been done to ensure complete evacuation of the stadium in eight minutes.
The dressing rooms and bathrooms have been upgraded to make it fit for FIFA standards.
“The dressing room sports a swanky new look with two rooms capable of fitting 25 players while two have space for 23. Washrooms have been split into two separate areas: dry and wet,” an official incharge of the stadium said. The overall cost of renovating the stadium has been close to Rs 100 crore.
The artificial turf at the stadium has been replaced by an all-natural grass pitch. The relaying work for the FIFA-approved turf was done by the same company that had laid the pitch at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
“The new grass is from Reivera Bermuda seeds procured from the USA and below it there are two layers of sand (300mm) and gravel (100mm). The next layer is fitted with perforated pipes so that water-logging won’t be an issue,” Amit Malhotra of Sports Turf and Golf Enterprise told Express.