India-USA U-17 WC match witness lukewarm response
New Delhi, Oct 6 (PTI) Despite claims of the organisers and the government, India's maiden FIFA U-17 World Cup match witnessed a lukewarm response at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here today.
Many sections of the stadium were empty and the areas occupied by the fans had vacant seats.
The lower tier was mostly occupied but not full. The upper tier of the stadium had many vacant areas.
Especially, one upper section to the left of the VIP area was almost vacant.
This is contrary to the government's claim that the stadium will be full for India's first FIFA World Cup game.
A few days earlier Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore had said that the tickets sales were stopped to allot tickets to children of select schools of the NCR.
To add to it, the online tickets were not available a day before the match.
To ensure that the turnout for the hosts' moment of history does not leave any red faces, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) had distributed 26,750 tickets to the Sports Ministry for free.
The Ministry, in turn, has passed on the passes to select schools in the Capital, NGOs and bureaucrats.
The government has also given out 22,250 free passes for the remaining matches in Delhi.
The decision to distribute free passes was taken last month after the Sports Ministry realised that there weren't many interested fans for the games in the Capital.
It may be noted that, it was on the Sports Ministry's insistence that India's group matches were shifted from Navi Mumbai to Delhi