Football players of France U 17 team during a practice session for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Guwahati.

Even as the teams have started their training for the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in Guwahati along with five other venues across the country, the banned militant outfit United Liberation Front of Asom – Independent (ULFA-I) has welcomed the players and officials who have arrived in the city.

The insurgent group in a statement also thanked FIFA for selecting Guwahati as a venue to host the mega event.

Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic International Stadium will host as many as nine matches including the semifinal. The matches in Guwahati start from October 8.

“I, on behalf of the organization, thank FIFA for bringing international football to this remote part of the world and a warm welcome to the FIFA officials and players of different nations to Assam. I believe that people of Assam will be immensely benefitted by this experience, learning about international standards in football, witnesses the ways and manners of the teenage players from different countries and some cultural exchanges that likely to take place,” its chairman Abhizeet Asom said in a statement.

He also appealed to the people of the state to cooperate with the organizers of the sporting event in all areas of the organizational matters and help in maintaining peace and order and prevent any attempt by miscreants to damage the reputation of Assam.

Already four teams – France, Japan, New Caledonia and Honduras – have arrived and been practicing at the four different designated grounds. On October 8, France faces New Caledonia while in another match on the same day Honduras will meet Japan.

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