ISL 2017: Kerala Blasters fans protest over shortage of tickets for opener against ATK
The Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Kochi has seen a steep fall in capacity from last season.
What's the story?
The opening game of the latest Indian Super League season will be played between the Kerala Blasters and ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi on November 17. The stadium's capacity, which stood at 60,000 earlier, had been reduced to an all-seater 29,748 for the recently concluded FIFA U-17 World Cup.
However, despite raising the capacity to 41,000 for the upcoming ISL 2017 season, a large number of fans have been left disappointed owing to lack of tickets. Tickets for all zones except the VIP box have been sold out for the opening game.
As a result, a large number of fans, including those from distant areas were protesting outside the stadium office in Kochi.
In case you didn't know
This stadium had an average attendance of 47,427 in previous ISL seasons with a high of 61,323 in the Kerala Blasters vs Chennaiyin FC game in Season 1 of the league. It also stands fifth in the world record for the loudest stadium (128 dB) in the Kerala Blasters vs Atletico de Kolkata final in Season 3.
The only seats left to be filled for the opening day fixture are the VIP seats that will cost Rs. 3500 per ticket.
The heart of the matter
There will be at least nine home games played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and that means plenty of fans will be left disappointed over the course of the season.
The tickets for the rest of the games are however are available both online and offline.
There have been talks of a new stadium being constructed in the near future. However, it is unlikely that the project will start any time soon.
Fans in Kerala are among the most passionate in the country and this may turn out to be a huge disappointment for them. It may also lead to larger protests if this issue is not resolved in the long term or the seating capacity further lowers.