FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament director Javier Ceppi slammed the organisation of the sport in India, saying he saw footballers “changing next to rats” in dressing rooms. Hours after the reports flooded social media, Ceppi clarified that he had seen events where it had happened in India, and insisted that his comments had nothing to do with the organisers of India’s first FIFA event.
“We missed out on a bunch of things which the Indian system never cares. Nobody cares about the fan, nobody cares about players, there are events where players are changing next to rats,” Ceppi said at the fifth International Convention on Football Business.
“People keep on saying the World Cup was a success by all means, but to be honest on my experience as a fan, I don’t think it was a success for the fan, that’s the reality.
“The success for the fans was they got to see fantastic football which they don’t get to see. The leagues here they don’t have the level which these U-17 teams have.”
Ceppi said it was tough to host the tournament in India as problems crop up in the 11th hour. “It was tough. In the sense it was way too many things here about it, main thing is infrastructure, to have our international tournament was at place, in India things can come up in the 27th hour,” Ceppi said. “We had a legacy of the Commonwealth Games 2010 to adapt,” he added.
Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this article had mistakenly stated that Ceppi’s quotes were about the Fifa Under-17 World Cup. Later, the Tournament Director had clarified that his comments were about Indian football in general. The error is regretted and the story has now been suitably altered.
(With inputs from PTI)