The International Association Football Federation (FIFA) and the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) have agreed on four stadiums for hosting the U-17 World Cup in November 2023. One of these stadiums is Gelora Bung Tomo (GBT) in Surabaya.
Surabaya Mayor Eri Cahyadi expressed his gratitude for GBT Stadium being chosen as one of the venues for the U-17 World Cup. He even stated his readiness to involve Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Surabaya to enhance the event.
"Alhamdulillah, GBT has been selected as a venue. So, we are preparing for Surabaya to become a sports tourism city. We are preparing some MSMEs, we have already invited them, and they will prepare various things. We are just waiting to see what the buzz will be in Surabaya, which teams will be there," said Mayor Eri Cahyadi on Friday, August 11, 2023.
Mayor Eri then provided an example of how MSMEs can be involved in enhancing the U-17 World Cup. For instance, MSMEs can participate in producing souvenirs or merchandise for the teams competing in the World Cup. These MSME products will be sold at GBT Stadium.
"So, we are mobilizing Surabaya's MSMEs. There will be T-shirts, souvenirs, etc., we will involve Surabaya's MSMEs. Friends from cooperatives are currently being called to curate the results. We will display everything at Gelora Bung Tomo," he stated.
According to him, curating the products of Surabaya's MSMEs to be displayed at GBT Stadium is crucial, just like the products from Surabaya that have been included in the Surabaya Kriya Gallery (SKG).
"It turns out that the Surabaya Kriya Gallery is extraordinary; the turnover has increased significantly. If MSMEs are not curated, the results may not be satisfactory. So, they will be curated, and if they need improvement, they will be taught until they become excellent," he noted.
Furthermore, to enhance the U-17 World Cup, Mayor Eri also plans to promote sports tourism starting from the village level. This will involve organizing various competitions and scouting football talents.
"So, we will start in August to celebrate Indonesia's Independence Day, and we will also search for football talents," he explained.
On the other hand, Mayor Eri emphasized the readiness of the facilities and infrastructure at GBT Stadium. Previously, on Monday, July 31, 2023, a FIFA team had inspected the pride of Arek Suroboyo (Surabaya's residents) directly.
"GBT is ready; FIFA has seen it. There are no issues. It is related to roads, access, and the parks around GBT that we will work on. But inside the stadium, alhamdulillah, it's all clear," he affirmed.
"As for the roads, there are no problems. So, we just need to test, check if the roads are comfortable to use," he added.
Regarding transportation, Mayor Eri revealed that the toll access leading directly to GBT Stadium is also ready for use. In fact, this toll road was already used for previous matches of the Indonesian National Team.
"We open all the toll roads. For those on motorcycles, they will go underneath, but for those in cars, they will no longer use the Romokalisari toll but the toll that directly connects to GBT. There is also a connection from Pelindo, two lanes; we open them all," he explained.
However, Mayor Eri hopes that the U-17 World Cup will not impact the scheduling of the Indonesian Liga 1 matches. There was previous information about the possibility of suspending Liga 1 temporarily during the U-17 World Cup.
"Let's hope it continues, so Persebaya can play, and the U-17 World Cup can also proceed. After all, Persebaya is the pride of Arek Suroboyo, so if possible, their matches (home base) should still be in Surabaya," he concluded. (*)