If the top FIFA official at the ongoing U-17 World Cup is to be believed, the enthusiasm India has shown for the tournament could result in the country landing the other global football events.
Javier Ceppi, director of the India 2017 LOC, claimed attendance for the 36 group stage matches across six venues has already crossed the 800,000 mark, already twice of what Chile managed during the last edition of the tournament two years ago.
“The average per match is almost 23,000, and the Indian matches had 49,000 average spectators, which is huge,” Ceppi said in Kolkata on Sunday. He even claimed that crowd turnout at the ongoing tournament is bigger than that at the 2011 Cricket World Cup which India co-hosted.
Ceppi believes football’s growing popularity and top-class facilities can make India one of the frontrunners to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the near future. “The nation, if it were to bid for the U-20 World Cup or other World Cups; I feel there are other facilities that are coming up in the country that they would be in a good position to be frontrunners,” Ceppi said.
“This was a make or break. If you’re not able to deliver then the doors would have closed definitely. Now the doors remain open. How it’s done in the future, we need to see. Possibility will be there for Indian football,” Ceppi said about India’s bid for hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019, for which the AIFF has already made a formal bid.
FIFA Head of Coaching and Player Development, Branimir Ujevic, raised the excitement levels even more. “At the moment, it seems like it’s much easier to get a ticket for the next El Clasico than it is to get a ticket for the final game of this World Cup.”