Following a final venue inspection tour, FIFA has today confirmed the cities which will host the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009. The cities are as follows: Abuja, Bauchi, Calabar, Enugu, Ijebu-Ode, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos. Warri has been excluded from use during the competition.
"I was pleased to see that the venues have made significant progress since my last visit in May. They now meet the basic stadium infrastructure requirements of FIFA and thus can be confirmed for the competition," said Jack A. Warner, FIFA Vice-President and Chairman of the FIFA Organising Committee for the U-17 World Cup. "What impressed me even more than the infrastructural improvements was the passion and the commitment the people of Nigeria have shown. I congratulate the Federal Government and the State authorities, the Local Organising Committee as well as the communities in the cities for what they have achieved. The legacy which was created will last far beyond the upcoming tournament. I am therefore proud to say that Nigeria is ready to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup."
A few of the venues need some additional work which FIFA has approved and has agreed to monitor over the next few days.
With regards to Warri, FIFA Vice-President Warner added: "Despite special efforts by FIFA to provide additional time, advice and opportunities to raise the quality of the facilities to a level that would meet the requirements of hosting matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the delivery had fallen far below the necessary level. FIFA cannot approve a venue in which one of the most critical elements, the main pitch in the stadium, is in an extremely poor state at the time of the final inspection."
The match schedule for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009 will be presented at the Official Draw, scheduled to take place tomorrow, Friday, 7 August at 20.00h in the International Conference Centre Abuja. The opening match will be played on 24 October, the final on 15 November.