With the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup 2022, being hosted by India, about 1,20,000 Indian school students will be taken to watch the match. The matches are being held in three cities: Bhubaneswar, Margao and Navi Mumbai. As per a report by PTI, a section of the three respective stadia is being reserved for the students, the FIFA governing body has stated. The U-17 World Cup 2022 is being hosted under a joint initiative by the tournament's Local Organising Committee and FIFA.
The official release by FIFA states, "The presence of a special set of fans seen consistently cheering from the stands — young boys and girls — has been facilitated by a special community engagement initiative undertaken jointly by the tournament's Local Organising Committee and FIFA. Thousands of young children across the three venues have enjoyed some world-class footballing action and many more will get a chance to do the same in the coming days."
FIFA Director of Tournaments Jaime Yarza said, “The matches where the kids are dancing, celebrating and laughing created the pictures of the day for me. It was a hard time for a lot of people, especially for those who were here for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017." "Having experienced the passion that we did back then, it was hard to be unsure if it (the 2022 tournament) could happen in India. So, now seeing the games being played, it's a real pleasure for all of us. Special arrangements have also been made in the stadia to ensure that the young fans of the sport enjoy the experience of coming to a game thoroughly," he further added.
"Through this tournament, we want to promote the ideas of equality and inclusion. We want these boys and girls to come and see how well these young women can play," said Nandini Arora, one of the Project Directors of the tournament.
A section of each stadium has been reserved for the school kids. Around 3,000 of them watched the first match in Bhubaneswar, while in Navi Mumbai, 5,000-6,000 were in attendance. The number is going to go up during the final," informed Yarza.