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FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 matches beat Cricket World Cup's spectator turnout

Sagnik Kundu
FEATURED COLUMNIST
News
3.00K   //    16 Oct 2017, 12:11 IST

Image result for u17 football world cup fans
The event has seen record footfall (Credits: Indian Express)

What’s the story?

Javier Ceppi, the director of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017, has claimed that the event has been more successful than the 2011 ICC World Cup in terms of spectator turn out. He also added that this success has led to the doors being opened for India to get the next Under-20 football World Cup.

"This was a make or break. If you're not able to deliver then the doors would have closed definitely. Now the doors remain open. How it's done in the future we need to see. The possibility will be there for Indian football," Ceppi told reporters on Sunday.

He said, "At this point in time, we are looking at a record attendance here in India 2017. It's also over with the first 36 matches of the ICC World Cup 2011 which is usually considered here as the gold standard for a World Cup in terms of attendance."

"We feel that really football has taken over. That's the reality. People are coming here we have seen the enthusiasm of people that we did not foresee. We had an average crowd of 49,000 for India matches. It's huge," Ceppi added.

The context

India is hosting a major FIFA tournament for the first time in history. It is also the first time that an Indian national football team participated in a football World Cup at any age group. The craze for the sport in the country has been immense in the last few weeks. This, in turn, has seen a record attendance during the matches.

The heart of the matter

Ceppi was ecstatic with the amount of interest the event has garnered among the masses in the country. He even claimed that there was an unprecedented demand for tickets for the final and he, himself, didn’t have a ticket.

Of course, the tickets for the final to be hosted at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata (which has a capacity of 66,687) have already been sold out.

Despite being told that they had not done enough marketing, the average turnout for the group stage matches has been more than the 2011 cricket World Cup (at this stage).

Ceppi felt that all of this augurs well for the country, who have submitted a bid to host the next 2019 U-20 World Cup.

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What’s next?

While the home team have been knocked out of the tournament, there is no drop in interest. The matches in the knockout stages should see more footfall.

Author’s take

The cricket World Cup in 2011 saw a total turnout of 1,229,826. In comparison, the FIFA World Cup has already seen a footfall of 800,000 according to Ceppi. While the cricket World Cup saw an increased footfall during the later stages due to India’s involvement, the interest for the football World Cup is still sky high.

It sure looks football is taking over the cricket crazy nation!

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Sagnik Kundu
FEATURED COLUMNIST
I spend every day at office wondering how they got the table through the door.
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