India-Pak match fails to draw crowds

Attendance was thin for today's Indo-Pak hockey match, and even free entry wasn't good enough to get people to watch the game.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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New Delhi:

The last time India played Pakistan in a hockey match in New Delhi was in 1999, when over 15,000 fans turned up to watch the game. But for today's match the attendance was less than one third of that, and even free entry wasn't good enough to get people to watch the game. Though the match saw a large gathering of VIPs, former players and security personnel, the crowd wasn't large enough to fill the stadium which has a capacity of 20,000. "Monday was a wrong day to hold the match. It should have been played over a weekend. To add to it, they played the game at 1:30 pm. By the time we got here, the match was all over," one fan said. International hockey matches in India in India are played at six venues across the country, of which only three match international standards. One of these is Hyderabad's Gachibowli Stadium, which was built for the 2003 Afro-Asian Games and is in the only one in the entire country that had floodlight facilities. Not surprisingly, the game to be played in Hyderabad will be the only game of the four-test series in India that will be played at a more spectator friendly time of 8:00 pm (IST). The next two games in Chandigarh and Amristar will continue to be played at 1:30 pm (IST).