The FIFA U-17 World Cup LOC today sought to clear the confusion around the tale of 'sold out tickets and empty seats', saying they are being sold for a particular match day and cited the example of the two India games when fans turned up in large numbers.
As per the ticketing websites, tickets for the games in some of the venues have been sold out, but at the stadium thousands of empty seats could be seen.
"A ticket is sold for a particular match day and not for either of the games. A good example for this would be the Match Days 1 and 2 at the New Delhi venue even though tickets were sold out for the opening fixtures (1700hrs kick off) on both days, the stands were sparsely filled. The second game (2000hrs kick off) which featured the hosts however had more people attending it making the stands seem more filled," the LOC said in a statement.
Owing to the confusion, many genuine football lovers were deprived of an opportunity to catch the action live.
"Another reason why certain sections of the stands are unutilised, especially in certain venues is because of the seats that we aren't using to ensure spectator safety. Any person sitting in the stadium should be able to reach a safe space in eight minutes which means some tiers weren't accessible. After bucket seats were installed at all venues it was understood that the maximum available seats were reduced.
"The seats which were made available thus for the tournament are the ones which adhere to the security recommendations."
On the eve of India's opening match against the USA on October 6, the LOC and the government had claimed that all the tickets have been sold and the stadium would be full.
The government had also reserved more than 26,000 seats for school children. But still, there were empty seats at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
"There are contractual obligations with the hosting association, all the participating teams, all the 13 commercial partners of the tournament, the host broadcaster, the signatories of host city, stadium and training site agreements and other stakeholders with which there are contracts with regards to the tournament, to provide tickets.
"All the tickets that have been put up for sale, are the maximum number of tickets that can be sold at each venue discounting these obligations."
On how the attendance get calculated on a particular match day," the LOC said, "All tickets are scanned outside the stadium and numbers of the scanned tickets by 60th minutes are the ones that are reported as the attendance of the match on the 75th minute.
"It is carried out like any other FIFA tournament by the contracted ticketing agency and then conveyed to the General Coordinator at the venue.