The Colombian government will invest almost $90 million on improving and refurbishing its stadiums before the Andean nation hosts the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
In a country-wide investment project, stadiums in the Colombian cities of Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, Manizales, Medellín and Armenia will be upgraded.
Funds will be invested in acquiring new turnstiles, building FIFA-standard emergency exits, setting up big screens, modifying VIP areas, adapting the structure of stands and improving the press rooms. Each venue must also be enlarged to hold a capacity of up to 25,000 fans.
With the contest to kick off in the last week of July 2011, the wide-scale renovations must be completed by March 30 of that year. On this date, the venues will be presented to FIFA representatives for investigation.
Silvia Vanegas, adviser to the management team at the Colombian Institute for Sport (Coldeportes), predicts that the project will generate “2,900 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs.”
24 teams will compete in the 2011 competition. 2009 champions Ghana will aim to defend their title, which they won on penalties against Brazil.
After failing to qualify for the last contest, the Colombia team will be looking to prove themselves. The Andean nation’s best result in the championship was 3rd place in 2003, following their defeat at the hands of Spain and an Andres Iniesta penalty.