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Football – Too Hot, Too Humid


Ahead of the tournament, the Korean local organising committee of this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup had set itself the ambitious target of attracting over a million spectators to the event. The optimism was not unfounded and the organisers were ultimately content to announce in the days before the opening match that more than 600,000 tickets had been sold for the tournament’s 52 matches across eight different venues. However, in the end, only 434,067 spectators actually attended games, an average of 8,347 per game. By comparison, the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru had drawn 17,244 fans per game, more than double the figure recorded in Korea. “We are disappointed with the attendances,” admitted Kim Dong-dae, the general secretary of the local organising committee of the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2007. He attributed the low number of spectators to the early elimination of the home team and the weather during the tournament. Torrential rain, sweltering temperatures of up to 35 degrees and high humidity levels served to put the public off coming to the stadiums. “Many people who might have come to games stayed at home or even cooled off at swimming pools because of the unseasonable heat,” said Kim. Honduras’s 5-0 win over Syria during the group phase drew just 430 fans to the 42,000-capacity arena on the island of Jeju.
And the low spectator turn-out can have had little to do with prices either as individual tickets were available for as little as 2.10 US dollars.