India is on the brink of achieving two major records in the history of FIFA U-17 World Cup. First, India might become the first hosting nation to register the most number of spectators in FIFA U-17 World Cup. Second, this World Cup edition is on course to become the highest goal scoring tournament till date with the overall tally reaching 170 in 50 matches. Currently, United Arab Emirates hold the highest goal tally with 172 goals scored during the 2013 edition of the tournament.
According to PTI, this year, a total of 12,24,027 spectators turned up at the six venues across India. During the first edition of the U-17 World Cup in China, held in 1985, the number of spectators was just 6949 more than the current number. With two more matches to be played (final and third-spot), the current edition could be the most attended FIFA U-17 World Cup ever.
The 2011 edition in Mexico had also recorded 10,02,314 spectators to be the third to have more than one million attendance in the tournament history. The attendance for matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 had breached the million mark in the last Round of 16 match.
But the number of spectators per match will be less than that of the inaugural edition (which was 38,469) as the number of participating teams and matches were lesser at that time. Sixteen teams competed till the 2005 edition in Peru, when the tournament was known as FIFA U-17 World Championships, before the number of participating countries increased to 24 from the 2007 edition in South Korea onwards.
The number of matches was also increased from 32 to 52 from 2007 onwards. When the tournament ends with the grand finale on October 28 in Kolkata, it will have the second highest spectator attendance per match, behind the inaugural tournament in China in 1985.
Understandably, Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium has the highest attendance per match. The venue has so far recorded 4,85,693 spectators from nine games, at a stunning average of 53,965 per match, with the actual capacity being 66,600.
The India edition has a goal average of 3.4 per match so far, the best since the tournament format was changed in 2007 to a 24-team format from the earlier 16-team participation.