Kolkata: It’s just been 10 days of World Cup football fever in India, but with the huge response the U-17 World Cup, has received, Javier Ceppi, Tournament Director of the FIFA event believes that the country now has even a greater chance to stage international football events in the future.
“I think until this moment after hosting 36 matches, the outcome of India hosting further football events and high level football events is positive because people have realised… you don’t know how many calls I got from football people and friends from all around the world saying on TV it looks fantastic,” said the head of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) as quoted by the Times of India.
“We are 66 per cent into the World Cup. We have 16 matches left and the response has been amazing. After 36 matches, the turnout is more than what was in the 2011 Cricket World Cup after the same number of matches,” he also added. “The average attendance has been 23,000 per match. The total turnout so far has been over 800,000”
Considering the big success of the FIFA U-17 tournament, India had made a formal bid to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the Chilean Ceppi thinks that with the record attendance every match is witnessing, it is possible for India to host other FIFA tournaments.
“We are looking at a record attendance at youth tournament here in 2017. At this point, it’s double to what Chile had in the entire tournament,” said Ceppi also adding that the India matches saw the attendance count rise to 49000 almost every match.
The turnout of attendance has been such that even the Tournament Director himself does not have a ticket for the final, whose tickets have already been sold out. “For the final, tickets are truly sold out. I don’t have one as well,” he said.
However, to host future tournaments all the stadiums have to maintain the level and standard it has reached in it’s preparation for this World Cup and Ceppi who has been in the country for the past few months overlooking every development observed, “How to maintain these in the future is what we need to see. But possibilities are there for India, I am sure.”
Talking of other venues which can also host FIFA matches in the future Ceppi said, “I feel there are other facilities that are coming up in the country that would be in a good position to be front runners. One is Ahmedabad and then Pune, for example. Then Trivandrum and Chennai with the ISL happening there. Then there is the one in Jamshedpur with their team playing ISL this time.”
“The Kalinga Stadium (in Bhubaneswar) has been good after the Asian Athletics. Should India bid to host other events, there will be options apart from these six which are hosting the World Cup,” he added as quoted the Times of India.
Branimir Ujevic, FIFA head of coaching and player development who is also the head of the Technical Study Group for this tournament was also present and touching on the demand of tickets he concluded, “At the moment, it looks like it’s much easier to get a ticket for the El Clasico than the final of the World Cup.”