FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament director Javier Ceppi on Sunday said the event has been more successful than the ICC World Cup 2011 in terms of spectators turnout, adding the “doors are now open” for India to get next edition’s U-20 World Cup.
Taking a 36-match cut-off after the end of group stage, Ceppi said the spectators mark has crossed a phenomenal 800,000, which is more than the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and double than what the last edition in Chile had witnessed.
“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.
“At this point of time, we are looking at a record attendance here in India 2017. It’s also over with the first 36 matches of the ICC World Cup 2011 which is usually considered here as the gold standard for a World Cup in terms of attendance,” Ceppi told reporters on Sunday.
There has been frenzy around the sport since the tournament kicked off.
“We feel that really football has taken over. That’s the reality. People are coming here we have seen enthusiasm of people that we did not foresee. We had an average crowd of 49,000 for India matches. It’s huge.”
Ceppi said there has been an unprecedented demand for tickets for the final from various state governments that speaks volumes of the success and it augurs well for India who have formally submitted a bid to host the next U-20 World Cup.
“The outcome of India hosting further high level football events is positive. People have realised now. You do not know how many calls I’ve received from abroad from friends and football fans saying, ‘it looks fantastic at least on TV’.
“It shows that the amount of noise that people are making, the enthusiasm the quality of football has sent out a positive message.”
“We needed to first focus on delivering this one. If we could not deliver this one then definitely the doors will be closed.”
The Salt Lake Stadium, which has a capacity of 66687, will host the final on October 28 and tickets have been sold out well in advance.