August 29, 2018
2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup: A feather in the cap of Youth Affairs & Sports Dept
One of the best accomplishments of the Youth Services and Sports (YSS) Department was the successful staging of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup matches allotted to the Swami Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (SVYBK).
Eleven matches – the final and both the semi-finals, a second round match, a quarter-final match and six group stage matches – were staged at the stadium to huge success. The first match at the stadium, a group match, was played on October 8, 2017 and the final on October 28, 2017.
To host a tournament of such a high standards, the State Government did a complete renovation of the stadium, both inside and outside.
It should be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the keen lover of sports that she is, played the role of the motivator-in-chief for the huge project that the U-17 World Cup was. She took an active part in the whole planning for the mega tournament and the meticulous planning made Kolkata the best host city in every way. The stringent requirements that FIFA demanded were met with aplomb and applauded by the world organisation.
Not only that, she inaugurated the logo of the host city of Kolkata on August 23, 2017 and wrote the theme song as well.
The way the tournament was promoted, both offline and online, was praised highly by FIFA. The Youth Services & Sports Department had a big role in this. A website was created for the World Cup, which also had details of facilities like health, police, etc. A YouTube channel was set up where the World Cup music video was played.
The hashtag ‘BiswaBanglayBiswaCup’ was extensively used on Twitter, Facebook and other online platforms on which the State Government promoted the World Cup and related activities. All advertising, both online and offline, regarding the World Cup had the tagline ‘Biswa Banglay Biswa Cup’, along with the logo of FIFA. Teasers were put up across the city, which had the tagline ‘Ebar Khela, Jombe Bangla’, coined by the Chief Minister. The World Cup logo and related images were painted on many buses.
Another aspect associated with the promotion of the World Cup was the distribution of thousands of footballs of the State Government’s ‘Joyee’ brand among clubs and Durga Puja organisers before the tournament started. These balls were made by the Refugee Handicrafts division of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Textiles Department. Joyee is another of the noteworthy initiatives of the Trinamool Congress Government to reach out to the grassroots.
Several other departments helped the Sports Department in making the World Cup a success.
In spite of the huge demand for tickets, the Education Department facilitated 5,000 students to watch each World Cup match for free. The Tourism Department trained around 200 students to act as guides, especially for the thousands of foreign fans. The Transport Department arranged special buses to and from the stadium to various places in and around Kolkata, in accordance with the timings of the matches. Emergency medical facilities were kept on standby. Drinking water pouches were made available inside the stadium. Security arrangements were also tight, as per international standards.
All in all, the World Cup was a huge success, culminating smoothly and enjoyed by players and fans alike. The head of FIFA himself, who was present at the final match, had heaped praise on the organisation of the event, the lion’s share of which went to the Bangla Government, and had thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the same.