Federation Cup: Reduced attendance should worry Indian football
The 2014 Indian Super League (ISL) averaged an attendance of one million across various stadia. This statistic makes the franchise-based league the fifth highest attended league in the world. ISL has also become the most viewed league in Asia. However, the Federation Cup, which started two months after the league has failed to garner a similar response.
FC Goa’s matches at Fatorda Stadium, at its peak, saw a full house of 19,752 and their average turnout was 17,402. But, the 2014 Federation Cup being held in Vasco has only managed, a high of 3,000 people attending the tournament.
Indian football expert, Novy Kapadia and commentator for the Federation Cup said, “The turnout for the games were very poor, in 2005, when it was last held in Goa, Mahindra United lifted the trophy. Even the group games were getting 10,000 – 12,000 attendance.”
“The 1997 Federation Cup final attendance at Salt Lake Stadium was 1, 31,000, so post the ISL, the viewership for this tournament has gone down. It’s not even been able to maintain the previous year’s spectatorship. The reason could be that the Indian public have been bombarded with football over the past few months or the festive season might have had a hand to play in it.”
Since 1977, the Federation Cup has been a cornerstone of Indian football. Yet it has failed to lure in the crowd. Group stages of the 2014/15 edition, which began on December 28 have just concluded and the tournament will now head into its knockout phase.
With three Goa-based teams in Dempo, Salgaocar and Sporting Clube de Goa making it into the semi-finals, stadium attendance is expected to increase.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) were unavailable for a comment on the issue.