FIFA upset with low turnout at U-20 World Cup

Ankara, June 25 (IANS) World soccer body FIFA was disappointed at the empty seats that have greeted teams at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

Jim Boyce, chairman of the FIFA Organising Committee for the tournament, said Monday that he was unhappy with the turnout that has averaged only 4,828 spectators for the first 12 matches at the six sites, reports Xinhua.

If the trend continues, it would be the lowest attendance ever for an Under-20 World Cup dating back to 1977 - the next lowest being an average of 9,667 in the Netherlands in 2005.

Several sites, including Istanbul, were far below the average with the opening France-Ghana match only attracting 2,800 fans in a 50,000-seat stadium.

Boyce had expressed concern before the tournament about empty seats, as only 300,000 of the 1.3 million tickets had been sold.

"Despite the Local Organizing Committee's excellent event preparation, I am nevertheless very disappointed by the match attendance figures," Boyce said.

"This tournament is a wonderful chance for Turkey, but the low number of spectators currently detracts from this opportunity," he added.

Boyce said before the tournament that this event - the second biggest FIFA competition after the World Cup - was a chance for Turkey to show its potential for hosting big events.

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