The 17th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India this month turned out to be a milestone event as it became the most attended in the history of the tournament.
After the final and third-place match in Kolkata on Saturday, the total number of spectators who turned up at the six host venues across the country went past the earlier record attendance of 1,230,976 set in the first edition of the tournament in China in 1985.
With 56,432 spectators turning up at the Salt Lake Stadium to watch the third-place match between Brazil and Mali, the total attendance of the FIFA U-17 World Cup reached 1,280,459. Brazil won the match 2-0, while England beat Spain 5-2 in the final hours later.
The attendance had breached the million mark during the Round of 16 matches on October 18. The 2011 edition in Mexico had also attracted a total of 1,002,314 spectators, becoming the third one to have more than one million attendance.
In terms of the number of spectators per match, this edition is second behind the inaugural edition in China (which was 38,469) as the number of participating teams and matches were lesser at that time.
Sixteen teams competed till the 2005 edition in Peru before the number of participating countries was increased to 24 from the 2007 edition in South Korea. The number of matches was also increased from 32 to 52 from 2007 onwards.
Understandably, Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium has the highest attendance per match. The venue has so far logged a total of 542,125 spectators from 10 games, at a staggering average of 54,212 per match. The stadium has a total capacity of 66,600.
(With PTI inputs)