Ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 final, Chairman of the Organising Committee Jim Boyce and President of the LOC Servet Yardimci commended the football that has been on show at the tournament.
Three weeks on since the first ball was kicked, the pair both expressed their pleasure at how the organisation of the competition had played out, but admitted that they were disappointed by the low attendances over the 50 games so far.
In terms of the spectacle on show though, Boyce was full of praise. “We've seen some fantastic games. There's been some really exciting football, last-minute goals, penalty shootouts,” he said at a press conference in Istanbul. “I think those involved with the teams have encouraged the players to entertain the fans, play football and football has been the winner. The football quality has been tremendous.”
With Saturday's final between France and Uruguay, preceded by the third-place match contested by Iraq and Ghana, Boyce also felt the spread of teams taking part on the competition's last day was a great sign for world football. “The nice thing is we have four teams from four different confederations and I think we are going to see two tremendous games,” he said. “I think this shows how football is developing, particularly at younger levels.”
Yardimci was similarly impressed by events on the field, while felt the efforts to ensure the tournament ran smoothly were executed as well as he could have hoped. “This has been the largest sporting event in Turkish history,” he said. “It has been very important for future events and I believe we have passed this trial successfully.
“There has been some wonderful organisation throughout the three weeks and, when meeting yesterday, FIFA officials said that the organisation had been flawless.”
Boyce also echoed the sentiments, feeling the way the LOC approached the event in regards to operations was exactly as they had hoped for. “The stadiums have been tremendous, the transportation, hotels and everything off the field have been very, very well done by the Turkish Football Federation. The Turkish LOC have proved that they can organise, and run very smoothly from all other aspects, a major competition.”
However, he conceded that attendance for the competition – which stands at 261,509 ahead of the final day – was the one point from Turkey 2013 which was not as they had expected. “We are obviously disappointed with the attendance at the games,” Boyce said. “I know how passionate the people in Turkey are about football, but for some reason we did not get the anticipated number of fans as we would have hoped and that, I suppose, is the one negative point.”
Looking to the future, Yardimci said the TFF would be investigating the cause of the poor fan turnout in the hope it would allow them to adjust their strategy in the future. “Of course we will try to find out the reasons for the low attendance, where we will hopefully learn a very important lesson at the TFF, and we will share these with the public.”