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The lack of spectators tarnish the U-20 World Cup

The lack of spectators tarnish the U-20 World Cup
The 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey, where France was crowned champion on Saturday, could have gone down in history as one of the most successful but was marred by low attendance, the lowest since the tournament has started.

Stadiums half empty looking more like a practice than a real match occurred throughout the competition even in later rounds.

"The one negative comment I have is something that we are very disappointed in, the attendance. Football is very important in Turkey, but for some reason we could not see a good attendance at stadiums," admitted Jim Boyce, President of the Organizing Committee of FIFA, on Friday at a press conference in Istanbul.

Before the last two games, the third place match and the final on Saturday in Istanbul, the total attendance had been 261,509 spectators, with an average of 5,230 attendees per game.

Adding together the last two games, about 30,000 between the two, the figure would be below 300,000, a very disappointing number, especially since the tournament beat attendance records in recent editions.

It's the lowest average figure in the history of the tournament. The lowest average was Holland-2005, where the average was 9,667 spectators per game.

In the previous edition, in Colombia-2011, the record was shattered with a total of 1,309,929 spectators and an average of 25,191 attendees per game.

Boyce hoped that this poor figure will not effect future events in Turkey and does not damage the aspirations of Istanbul to host the 2020 Olympics or future hopes to hold a World Cup.

It was not at the level we expected," admitted the president of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), Servet Yardimci, also in an appearance before reporters on Friday.

It was the low point of an otherwise successful tournament, where the stadiums were top-notch, especially with regard to the state of the pitch.

It was a tournament where the quality lived up to expectations, with players who have confirmed that they have a promising future and where many goals were scored (total of 152 goals, 2.92 average per game).

The figure was significantly above that of the previous edition, Colombia, where a total of 132 goals were scored for an average of 2.54 per game.

The next edition of the tournament will travel to Oceania, New Zealand, where the priority will be to whip up local support for the games which FIFA considers the second in importance just behind the World Cup.



Photo: AFP