New format for the Granatkin Memorial in Saint Petersburg
The organizers revealed details about the upcoming Granatkin Memorial 2017 on a press-conference held in the Media Center of the Saint Petersburg Government (Nevsky prospect, 66, The Bookstore of writers). Boris Vakhrushev, the First Vice-President of the Interregional Union of Football Federations “North-West”, Dmitry Shneider, the Tournament Director, Mikhail Galaktionov, the Youth Russian National team Head Coach and Vladimir Kazachionok, the Youth Saint Petersburg team Head Coach shared their views and expectations.
Boris Vakhrushev reminded that the Granatkin Memorial would traditionally open international football calendar of 2017 in Russia and throughout the world. He also added that this year marked a 105-year anniversary of Russia joining FIFA, a holiday for domestic football that would be celebrated January 19.
Mikhail Galaktionov announced that the coaching staff was still forming the squad of the Youth Russian National team, adding that a goal was set to finish the Granatkin Memorial successfully, since this tournament was one of just few international football competitions held in Russia.
Vladimir Kazachionok, the Head Coach of team Saint Petersburg and the Director of FC Zenit Youth Academy told that the squad of his team was defined. “The players are having rest now. We’ll begin preparing shortly afterwards. We’ll do our best to perform well on the tournament”.
According to Dmitry Shneider, the organizers were trying to gather all the strongest teams of all six FIFA confederations. However, due to changes in the FUR top management, the invitations were sent later, and some teams had other plans already.
This year the Youth team from India will participate in the Granatkin Memorial for the first time ever that should raise interest to the tournament. The expatriate community of India is quite big in Saint Petersburg, and so the team representing the second largest country on the planet will likely have strong support on the stands.
Vladimir Kazachionok said that India opted for serious preparations for the competition in Saint Petersburg organizing pre-tournament camp in South America.
Sixteen U-18 teams will take part in the Granatkin Memorial. This time the organizers chose a traditional formula used for multiple European Championships and earlier World Cups with sixteen entrants. At the first stage the teams will play in four groups, and then the best eight will continue battles for medal places while the rest will play for places 9-16.
The competition will be held in the Peterburgsky SCC (Yuriya Gagarina pr., 8) January 8-21. The Russian team is playing Latvia, Belarus, and India and group B. Saint Petersburg is playing the defending champion Slovenia and Iran and Moldavia in Group D. Tajikistan, Greece, Bulgaria and Estonia form Group A, and Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Slovakia and Kazakhstan – Group C.
The Granatkin Memorial opening ceremony is set on January 8 at 18:30 prior to Russia VS India match (kick-off at 19:00). Russia will then play Latvia January 10 and Belarus January 12 (both matches will start at 19:00). The Saint Petersburg team that took silver last year, will start January 9 at 19:00 against Iran. The following matches will be against Moldova January 11 and Slovenia January 13 (kick-off at 19:00).
The playoffs stage will commence January 14. Semi-finals are planned on January 18 and matches for the 7th, the 5th, the 3rd places and the final match will be held January 21.
Ticketing policy will be attractive for football fans. Price for an adult ticket is set at the last year’s level of 300 rubles. Discounts apply for several categories.