FIFA Under-17 World Cup opener was a big affair keeping in mind India were in the finals of the tournament without having to go through qualifiers. Fans stood in long queues to get tickets while the Sports Ministry gave out passes for free because they anticipated that the Jawaharlal National Stadium stands might be empty. According to their research, they ascertained that the stadium might be empty. Hence the distribution of free passes while common people were scrambling for tickets and a few enthusiastic had to go back home without witnessing history in making.
A Local Organising Committee source said on the development: “We were informed by the Sports Ministry about the transference of about 26,000 tickets when the venue was shifted from Navi Mumbai to Delhi. Their own research suggested the stadium might have been empty, hence the tickets were given to the Ministry, who have distributed across various schools and colleges, which will ensure a full attendance.”
It is acceptable that India is not a football crazy nation like others due to the inclination towards cricket. They had distributed passes to a few schools in New Delhi, NGO’s and Bureaucrats but giving out free passes on a large scale as this was not expected. The number of tickets distributed was more than half of the capacity of the stadium but the reason they gave was that New Delhi is not exactly known for a large number of football-crazy fans like other states.
Here’s the video of fans standing in queue to get tickets-
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) October 6, 2017
The Delhi vs USA match did not witness empty stands as fans came from all parts of the nation. The match did not go in India’s way as they lost by 3-0 but they have not played in a major tournament like this and did not have luck on their own side. They will be playing their next match against Colombia at the same venue. Though it is not clear whether yet that the passes of the next clash had been distributed already or not.