The upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup will be one that comes with many firsts. It is the first ever FIFA tournament to be held in India and it will be the first time that the country will be represented in a World Cup across age groups. Former and current players from India have all pointed out that this team is easily the most travelled team football team to have represented the country. In addition to all this, this year’s tournament will be setting a record for the farthest distance between two venues in the event’s history.
The distance between Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium is a whopping 2431 kilometres which is the highest there has ever been between two venues in the FIFA U 17 World Cup. India is only behind China and Canada in being the largest country to have hosted the tournament. Even then, the largest distance between the venues when China and Canada hosted the tournament in 1985 and 1987 respectively is not comparable to Kochi and Guwahati.
Apart from these two venues, the matches will be hosted in Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Guwahati and Margao, Goa. India’s group stages will be played in New Delhi alongwith Colombia, USA and Ghana. The tournament starts on October 6 with India playing USA on the first match day. Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata, with a capacity of 66,000 is the largest stadium and will host the title clash.
The competition attendance record of the FIFA U-17 World Cup was set at Mexico 2011 when 98,943 spectators poured through the turnstiles at the Estadio Azteca to watch the final between Mexico and Uruguay. The highest overall tournament attendance was in China in 1985 in the inaugural tournament, with 1,231,000 fans flocking to the stadiums, averaging 38,469 fans per game.