FIFA U-17 WC: Semi-Final For Cops Before The Biggest Test


Kolkata: The big-ticket Brazil-Germany FIFA U-17 World Cup quarter-final to be played on Sunday has sent the football crazy city into a tizzy prompting the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to bill this clash as “one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of the tournament”. For thousands of soccer-crazy fans in the city, the ticket to Sunday’s Brazil- Germany match has become a perfect Bhai Phonta gift.

If you were surprised by the queue outside the stadium on Sunday, the reason was not hard to guess – the 12,000 odd complimentary tickets were what the fans gunned for. Till late evening, they were “sold off” at a premium.

Not many complained though. “This is the best match of the tournament. If you are gunning for a seat at the stadium, you have to shell out more,” said Satarup Banerjee, who has flown in from Bengaluru just to watch this match.

While fans were busy trying to get hold of a ticket, the cops tried to address some of the issues that spectators faced at the end of the last knockout match. “We have realized that fans coming from the suburbs faced a lot of inconvenience. So we have written to the railways to run the last Sealdah-Barasat local at 11.20pm, which otherwise stands cancelled on Sundays. We have also requested WBTC to run special buses to Barasat,” said a senior IPS officer.

There were also allegations of some mismanagement at the end of the match on October 17, which England won in a shootout against Japan. “The dispersal time saw a rush for the gates and eventually the buses. Two persons even complained of minor injuries. We are, therefore, deploying 250 more personnel at the gates to stop a stampede-like situation. We will not allow crossings except through specific channels and we might ask WBTC to ensure that buses arrive at the gates in an orderly manner,” added the officer.

This would be the last chance for the organizers — especially the police — to study the dispersal pattern before the big final. “Those matches will begin at 5pm (third placing match) and then probably linger on to shootouts. We need to ascertain how we can disperse over 50,000 men and women at one go on Sunday,” said a top police source.