Local Organising Committee (LOC) project director Joy Bhattacharjya on Tuesday said ticket sales in Delhi have picked up but there is still a long way to go before the FIFA U-17 football World Cup begins in October 6.
“Ticket sales in Delhi have picked up. But still, there is a long way to go,” Bhattacharjya told reporters during a media briefing and workshop here.
India will be playing their Group A matches in the capital alongwith Ghana, the US and Colombia. India play their first match against the US on October 6.
Asked about the physical ticket sales in Goa, Bhattacharjya said since connectivity is a problem in the state, the LOC wants to ensure that no one misses out on the action. Goa will be hosting heavyweights Brazil, Germany among others.
“Goa is a special case. If you go to Goa, there is huge connectivity issue. So want to ensure that no one misses out on the World Cup and there will be big teams playing in Goa like Brazil,” he said.
The ‘trophy experience’ will start from August 17 in New Delhi. Kolkata, which will host the final on October 28, will get a glimpse of the silverware between August 31 and September 5.
“There are some other exciting matches which have tickets left. The quarter-final could be fantastic if you look at the draw carefully. Brazil, Spain could be playing. There are still tickets available for the group matches as well. There have been brilliant tickets sales so far,” Bhattacharjya said.
“This (trophy) would not be a replica. This would be the first time a real trophy is coming. We have three opportunities to see the trophy in Kolkata. We would bring maybe the sports minister on the first day to come and receive the trophy. Eminent footballers from Kolkata and top footballers from India would be there with the trophy,” Bhattacharjya said.
“Two other people we want to bring are children. On September 2 we will have a big mission XI programme where school children will have an opportunity to be with the trophy. On September 3, we will keep the trophy at Eco Park where the general public can take a picture with the Trophy,” Bhattacharjya added.
The trophy might be on show at the Netaji Indoor Stadium as the Salt Lake Stadium, which is being renovated for the youth showpiece, still has a work to be done.
On the national sponsors, three of the six slots for whom have already been filled, Bhattacharjya said: “We are looking at three more or possibly four sponsors. There has been great traction so far for a junior tournament. Being a sponsor of a FIFA tournament is not cheap.”
“It’s different to be sponsoring say an ISL event. One needs to understand that being associated with a FIFA World Cup happening for the first time in India is huge,” he added.
Asked if this would be the biggest attended U-17 World Cup, Bhattacharjya said only Mexico 2011 would come close.
“The only tournament that would come close is Mexico 2011. Nobody else would be close. The response has been fantastic so far,” he said.