It is possible that those present at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the capital on Monday evening went back home with a shared realization – Barcelona’s rock of a centre back, Carles Puyol, is actually made of flesh and blood like everyone else. In the country to promote the FIFA U-17 World Cup and ceremonially launch the tournament’s ticketing scheme, Puyol played football with kids, perspired, smiled, and cheered. His visit, thus, has already served its purpose, as the next generation of Indian footballers went home thinking ‘if Puyol can, so can I.’
Tickets for the first FIFA event in the country will go live at exactly 7:11 pm on May 16, paying tribute to the year in which Indian football made history. It was the first time that an Indian football team, Mohun Bagan AC, defeated an English team (East Yorkshire Regiment) and won the IFA Shield.
Appropriately, Gouri Bhaduri, grand daughter-in-law of Shibdas Bhaduri, captain of the historic 1911 team was handed the first ticket by Carles Puyol and Vijay Goel. The ceremonial ticket would allow her family to attend any of the matches that take place across the six host cities.
Speaking at the event, Carles Puyol said, “I was very excited and curious to discover the country and its people and I am glad that I didn’t only get to see India’s rich history, but also honour it.”
“Indians will get the chance of seeing World Cup matches live and that experience is completely different from watching it on television. You can feel the energy in the stands. At a FIFA U-17 World Cup, you can see the stars of the future. Indians should make the most of this opportunity and come in numbers to watch international teams play at their home”.
Elaborating the Ticketing Programme, Vijay Goel, Minister of Sports added, “We have made sure the tickets are priced very nominally, you can buy a World Cup ticket for less than fifty rupees, so there is no reason not to come and support this tournament in large numbers”.
The Official Draw for the tournament will take place on 7th July, 2017.