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TFA's chance to host AFC tournaments

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Football Association (TFA) has a chance to host a string of AFC tournaments this year but first the State body has to assess whether it would be able to meet the stringent conditions of the Asian confederation for the conduct of these prestigious events.

The Central Council of the TFA which deliberated this matter, after the AIFF offered the opportunity to Tamil Nadu, decided in principle to host the events. But considering the cost factor, security aspects and the facilities required, including assurance that the stadium would be available one month before the tournament, the Council thought it fit to first seek assurance of active participation of both the Tamil Nadu Government and the Sports Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), before taking a final decision.

As per the schedule sent by AFC, the Under-20 youth championship (qualifying phase) is to be held from November 23 to 27 involving India, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka and the Under-17 qualifying phase from November 13 to 17. The teams for this are India, Pakistan and Tajikistan. The schedule for the Under-20 final round is to be known later.

The TFA Secretary, T.R. Govindarajan, said the Central Council had tentatively thought of Chennai hosting the final round of the AFC Under-20 and having the other two qualifying phase competitions in Coimbatore. However, the Council first wanted the TFA President, C.R. Visswanathan, and Mr Govindarajan to initiate discussions with the Member Secretary, SDAT and the Tamil Nadu Government on the feasibility of improvements and upgradation of the stadia in Chennai and Coimbatore.

The TFA has to inform the AIFF by July 10 on whether it was agreeable to host the qualifying competition and by July 20 the final round of Under-20 competition, which is the basis for deciding the Asian representative for the world youth championship.

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