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U-17 World Cup organisers bank on patriotism to draw crowds

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New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament director Javier Ceppi asserted on Friday that the feeling of singing the Indian national anthem for the first time at a world level football tournament should attract crowds at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here.

The capital will host the six matches of Group A — which includes India — and two second-round games at the FIFA U-17 World Cup which starts on October 6.

“The Indian national anthem has never been played on a football World Cup, never. The first time the Indian national anthem will be played in a football world, will be played in this stadium here on October 6,” Ceppi told reporters.

“If that does not get you as an Indian, if that does not get you as a football fan, then I don’t know what gets you. Singing the national anthem at the World Cup along with other people of the country is a once in a life time experience,” he added.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium with 60,000 seating capacity has recorded only 20 percent ticket sales with the phase three of the ticket sales coming to an end on Saturday.

Talking about the ticket sales, Ceppi said: “Sales have gone good, by the standard of the sales it’s not that good. Delhi is behind Kolkata, Guwahati, Kochi and we expect that to jump. You have seen our prices, they are nominal prices.”

Ceppi also highlighted the challenges he faced in bringing and establishing the World Cup in India. The Chilean laid the foundation to host the tournament two years and nine months ago.

“Each country has different challenges and particularities, India has it’s own, India has six different official languages, six different venues, it has six different chief ministers, sports ministers, education, etc,” Ceppi said.

“Then after that, you have got demonitisation, you also have change of tax, I’m not making a judgement on any of those, I’m no one to make a judgement but certainly there is a lot changes that have happened and we have worked around with those changes, we have worked with it,” he concluded.

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