CHENNAI: What was that about India being a one-sport country? A couple of days after the first stage of selling tickets for the U-17 World Cup started, the Local Organising Committee of the tournament revealed that things are going much better than what they expected.
The first stage involves the sale of the heavily discounted tier-3 tickets as packages for the whole tournament. After former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol inaugurated sales on Monday, the tickets went live for general public on Tuesday. Demand was so high that sales portal Kyazoonga crashed on the first day itself. By the second day, tickets in Kolkata were already sold out.
“It is much better than what we expected,” says the tournament’s project director Joy Bhattacharjya. “The first phase of tickets for Kolkata has been sold out, understandably so for everyone knows the final is being held there. Guwahati too has seen very good sales. So it’s definitely going well.”
Bhattacharjya also expects sales to pick up, and even do better in later phases.
“A centre like Kochi, there is uncertainty in people’s minds over whether matches will be played there or not. But once we visit the stadium on Thursday and give the final go ahead, all doubt will be removed and sales will improve. And you have to keep in mind that the draw is not yet out and we don’t know where the glamour teams are playing. Once that happens and people know Brazil is playing here and England is playing here, they’ll try get tickets for those centres.”
Kochi visit on Thursday
LoC officials including tournament director Javier Ceppi, will visit the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Thursday to evaluate the progress made at the stadium and give a final seal of approval to the city’s status as U-17 WC hosts. Express had earlier reported that the LoC had made several visits to the city after the March meeting where it was deemed that works at the stadium was not satisfactory. But all issues appear to have sorted.
“Since FIFA’s inspection visit on March 24, the LOC has done 7 inspections to Kochi, basically once a week, to assess all deliverables to be completed there,” Ceppi said. “(The) State government has already given written assurances on the closing of shops around the stadium, which was a major point to be solved. Comprehensive reports have been issued that allow us to evaluate the level of readiness on the infrastrucutre front and the last reports indicate that the progress made in the infrastructure works are in line to meet the deadlines given.”