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Indian Football Fans Among Largest Buyers of 2018 FIFA World Cup Tickets

The official mascot of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Football fans from India are gearing up in full force to enjoy the sport and support their favorite teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will start in Russia on June 14. India is among the top 20 countries in terms of tickets being sold, the Times of India reported, citing a FIFA spokesperson.

“International fans have been allocated 54 percent of tickets. We can confirm that 17,962 tickets have been allocated to Indian fans. The sales are ongoing,” the FIFA spokesperson was quoted as saying by the daily.

The home fans in Russia have bought the maximum number the tickets for the 21st edition of the World Cup. While 872,578 tickets were bought by fans in Russia, the United States came next, with 86,710 tickets being bought by people from the country.

Football fans from China have bought 39,884 tickets, according to the report.

“Whatever tickets were allocated to us were snapped up in quick time by the state associations,” Kishore Taid, the chief of operations at the All India Football Federation, was quoted as saying by the publication.

FIFA had earlier said that 2,403,116 tickets were allocated to football fans all around the world since sales started in September 2017. “Most of them have gone to Russian fans, followed by fans from the United States,” FIFA said in a statement on June 7.

The tickets allocated to other countries are Brazil (72,512), Colombia (65,234), and Germany (62,541) tickets, which fall in the top-10 countries. “International demand accounts for 54 per cent. Since last minute sales are ongoing until 15 July, these figures are subject to change,” the statement added.

FIFA added that in line with the ticket sales structure and with the organization’s efforts to make as many tickets as possible available directly to football fans, more than 100,000 tickets, which were previously reserved for other FIFA constituent groups, have now been made available to football fans.

When ticket sales started in 2017, Indians constituted the top-10 buyers, picking up more tickets than countries like the United Kingdom. In the last-minute sales phase, which began on April 18, football fans from India snapped up as many as 1,905 tickets in the first 24 hours, the daily reported.

This is despite the fact that the Indian football team, which has been ranked 97th in the world, has not been able to make an appearance at the World Cup. Recently, India’s football captain Sunil Chhetri, after scoring two goals on June 10, took his goal tally to 64, joining Argentinian football player Lionel Messi and becoming the second highest international goal-scorer among active players.