KOCHI: The seating capacity of the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, which hosts FIFA U-17 World Cup matches from October 7, has been reduced from 41,000 to 32,000 as part of safety measures. The state police chief Loknath Behera said they can only allow a maximum of 29,000 spectators, to ensure security for all. Police personnel and other staff would add up to another 3000.
The seating capacity of the stadium, which had housed up to 55,000 spectators during ISL matches, was earlier brought down to 41,748 after the top tier was locked down due to the lack of evacuation points. As per FIFA safety rules, the entire stadium will have to be evacuated within eight minutes in case of any emergency. The FIFA inspection team found that the top tier didn’t have an evacuation point and shut it down.
However, the latest reduction in the number of seats won’t have any bearing on tickets sold. “FIFA has sold tickets only to as many spectators that they can accommodate. So those who have bought tickets need not worry,” said nodal officer APM Mohammed Hanish.
A source close to the Local Organising Committee also acknowledged the reduction. “The seats for the public has been kept to around 29,200. Plus, there will be security personnel. This is a new development and the decision was taken to ensure full security and safety of spectators,” he said. Kochi will host six group games in addition to a pre-quarterfinal and a quarterfinal match.
Approximate number of seats for the public in Kochi.
The earlier capacity, after the top tier was locked down.