The All India Football Federation increased the number of tickets for all match days at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium. One day after Sunil Chhetri said he was surprised at reports of only 15,000 tickets being available for each of the three Asian Cup qualifier match days at the Salt Lake Stadium.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) increased the number to 50,000 for Wednesday when India play Cambodia from 8:30pm after Hong Kong meet Afghanistan. All tickets are complimentary.

“The AIFF has made a provision for 50,000 tickets for Wednesday,” Rahul Parashar of the federation’s competitions’ department said. “Depending on the response, AIFF will decide on the numbers for the remaining match days.”

After Chhetri sounded incredulous about the lack of response, tickets were exhausted within minutes of them being available through a website on Saturday afternoon. Parashar said that was because a part of the tickets were released.

Another federation official said that after allotting tickets to the government, IFA and AIFF partners, only around 8,000 were left and a part of that was made available. The official requested anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

Following this, the organisers, which includes AIFF, the state government and the Indian Football Association, the sport’s apex unit in West Bengal, held a meeting where the decision to increase the number of tickets was taken. The state government, the AIFF official who didn’t want to be named said, has agreed to allow up to 75,000 people. Logistical challenges of the government stamping tickets and distributing them in time for Wednesday’s game though remain.

On Saturday, Chhetri released a video message on the national team’s twitter handle where, with a smattering of Bangla, he apologised for India’s performance against Bangladesh in October 2019 not measuring up to the support the team got and asked Kolkata “to let the three teams that are going to play against us, plus you.”

What Patel has said:

Former AIFF president Praful Patel said the Fifa delegation due in New Delhi later this month would need “specific timelines” regarding framing a new constitution and electing office-bearers. That will ensure that India is spared a ban due to third party intervention after the Supreme Court appointed a Committee of Administrators to run the federation, he said. It is possible that the delegation “may help CoA formalise the constitution.”

Patel, a Fifa Council and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee member, said on Saturday that he had “requested” the world and Asian bodies to allow the Asian Cup qualifiers to be held. “We have been successful to the extent that an immediate suspension has not happened.” Patel also said he would meet the delegation.

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