Distribute free U-17 World Cup tickets: Coach Hughes (Re-issuing with corrected quote)

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New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) With ticket sales of the U-17 World Cup yet to pick up in the capital, Manchester City Community Coach Thomas Hughes suggested that tickets should be given away free to ensure good crowds for the matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

“In regards to the Under-17s World Cup, if this is a 60,000 seater staudium,(and) you think you will get 200 people, you’re going to have to give away free tickets. Go to the local clubs. We’ve had 60 coaches all from local clubs. Give them free tickets,” Hughes said on the sidelines of the ‘Premier League Skills Programme’ here on Sunday. The IANS story moved on Sunday had mistakenly said that Hughes had asked FIFA to distribute free tickets.

Hughes also said that in England and Wales distribution of free tickets happens. “In tennis clubs for example, Wimbledon, the biggest tennis tournament in the world, probably give away free tickets to certain clubs. Now if you do that here you will see the benefit. Kids with their parents will come to the stadium,” he added.

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FIFA on Saturday approved the request by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to shift all the group matches of the Indian U-17 to the capital from Navi Mumbai.

The capital will hold eight group stage and four Round of 16 matches in the U-17 World Cup.

The skill camp — supervised by Manchester City Community Coaches Elliot Sutcliffe and Hughes — was a week-long programme held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here to train 60 coaches from India. Similar camps will also be held in Guwahati and Bengaluru.

“The Indian coaches will take at least a decade to improve. Having said that we look forward to come here every year to train them as a part of the programme,” Sutcliffe told IANS when asked about his experience of training the national coaches.

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The coach also said that giving away free tickets was a tradition in the United Kingdom.

“In England and Wales that happens. In tennis for example Wimbledon is the biggest tennis tournament in the world probably they give away free tickets let’s say in clubs.

“Now if you do it here you will see the benefits because kids with their parents will come to stadium watch football and entertainment. That’s why they will come,” he said.

Manchester City finished third in the English Premier League (EPL) last season under the club’s head coach Pep Guardiola.

Although that performance is considered disappointing by some fans, Sutcliffe believes the Spaniard will be a success at Manchester City.

Sutcliffe believes that Argentine striker Sergio Aguero will remain at Manchester City despite not being part of Guardiola’s plans after Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus joined the club.

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He also dismissed rumours that Manchester City had offered a swap deal with Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

“Aguero has been a key man for us and he will stay that way, he is not going to leave the club so early,” he said.

“As far as Sanchez is concerned, he won’t join us, I’m quite sure about it. He is staying at Arsenal.”



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