Indian Football

Asian Cup qualifiers: Tickets for India's game to be complimentary due to low fan response

Arjun Singh Devgan
India are set to play in the Asian Cup qualifiers between June 8 to 14
India are set to play in the Asian Cup qualifiers between June 8 to 14 / Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/GettyImages

All the tickets for the upcoming 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers set to be hosted at the Salt Lake Stadium between June 8 to 14 will reportedly be complimentary, following the lukewarm response shown for the final round of games.

India are scheduled to play Cambodia in their first game on June 8, which will be the first time that Salt Lake Stadium will be hosting an international game in more than two years. The Blue Tigers last played out a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh in the World Cup Qualifiers here on October 15, 2019, but the upcoming clash has failed to generate any excitement among the fans with the local organising committee not expecting a crowd of more than 5,000 in the 70,000-capacity Salt Lake Stadium.

"There's no more restriction and the state government has allowed full capacity. But with the lower- ranked opponents in Hong Kong (147), Afghanistan (150) and Cambodia (171), we don't expect the crowd to go beyond the 5,000 mark," an organising committee member told the PTI.

"Also the late kickoff time - 8:30pm for all of India's three matches - has proved to be a dampener. If AIFF sells tickets, they have to shell out the stadium rent and other charges which would come to the tune of Rs 16 lakh per day.

"But we don't expect to generate even half of the amount by selling tickets. That's the reason why the AIFF and AFC have decided to give all the tickets for free," he added.

India have been drawn in Group D alongside Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Cambodia and go into the final round of qualifiers as the favourites to progress from their group.