FIFA U17 World Cup 2017: Why Kolkata might not be full house despite being sold out for the semi-final
The 1st semi-final of the FIFA U17 World Cup featuring Brazil and England had to be shifted to Kolkata from Guwahati after incessant rains in Assam due what the LOC described as "cyclonic weather" made the pitch at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium unfit to host the game.
This was followed by a mad rush to get hands on the tickets for the semis and more than 1 million people queued up on the ticketing portal. Whilst all the tickets were sold out within three hours of being put up for sale, for all the people expecting another record crowd at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, they might be in for a disappointment as only 35,000 tickets were made available to the public for purchase.
The rest of the tickets as Joy Bhattacharya, the Project Director at LOC for the U17 World Cup stated were "distributed as complimentary tickets for various stakeholders." These involved various clubs in West Bengal as well as various financial stakeholders.
These tickets will then be collected by the various stakeholders on the morning of the game and it will be on them to get them distributed to get people in.
Bhattacharya also revealed that the LOC over the tournament has also been able to get in a number of charities and children to watch the games.
The LOC also thanked the West Bengal government for giving a firm backing to FIFA and the tournament in general as it was totally upon the state government as to whether they wanted the game to be held in Kolkata on such short notice.
"The LOC, working on war-footing had nearly 20 people working overnight to get the things done," informed Bhattacharya.
Over 75% of the tickets were already redeemed at the stadium counter a day before and the rest would be distributed at Milan Mela area where 13 counters would be operating. The state government has also planned for special buses for conveyance for the game