Spanish football legend Carles Puyol, on expected lines, attracted all the attention as the local organising committee of the FIFA U-17 World Cup kick-started the ticket sales on Monday. The former Barcelona central defender was engaged in a friendly match with Sports Minister Vijay Goel and his cabinet colleague Babul Supriyo, who is also the vice chairman of the LOC, along with the kids associated with the government's Mission XI Million programme.
Tickets for the first FIFA tournament in the country will go live at exactly 19.11 hours Tuesday, paying a tribute to the year in which Indian football made history. It was the first time an Indian football team, Mohun Bagan FC, defeated an English side (East Yorkshire Regiment) and won the IFA Shield. Appropriately, Gauri Bhaduri, grand daughter-in-law of Shivdas Bhaduri, captain of that team, was handed over the first ticket by Puyol.
Puyol expressed his wish to be a part of the tournament in October.
"I was very curious and excited to discover the country and I am glad that I witnessed its rich culture," Puyol said. "Indians will get the chance to see World Cup matches live and that experience is completely different from watching it on television. You can feel the energy in the stands. At the 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 home."
Goel said, "We have made sure that tickets are priced nominally, you can buy a world cup ticket for less than 50 rupees. So, there is no reason not to come and support this tournament in large numbers."