‘FIFA never compromised on the safety of people at the JNI Stadium. But ISL does’
KOCHI: "FIFA never compromised on the safety of people who came to watch football matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium during the Under-17 world cup. But I doubt the ISL is focusing more on exploring business than considering people's safety," a senior government officer told Express.
The officer's comment came hours after Javier Ceppi, tournament director of the recently-concluded U-17 World Cup, expressed his concern over using the venue's third tier for the much-popular domestic league, which attracted an average of 50,000 fans for its two matches so far this season at the venue.
"Very surprised to see that 3rd tier in the JNI is being used. Stadium doesn't have the evacuation capacity from the top tier. Hope nothing happens," Ceppi tweeted after Friday's Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters match.Concerned with the venue's safety, FIFA had closed its third tier, bringing down its capacity to 29,000 from 55,000. However, the third tier, which has 12,000 seats, was opened again for the spectators for the ISL. As per the league body's official statement, only 39,000 seats are available for fans.
"It's a really serious concern as it would cause a major problem in case of an untoward incident. FIFA enforced the regulations to make the evacuation possible in just eight minutes. I don't know why is the double standard on safety," said the senior officer."The FIFA has a different rule and that might have forced them to reduce the seating capacity to 29,000. We are not considering that. Based on that, the Fire and Rescue Department renewed the NOC," said a Fire and Rescue officer.