New Delhi: Worried about the low turnout for the SAFF Championship at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, sports minister Ajay Maken on Friday asked the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to make entry free for school students and parents.
The stadium, hosting a football match after a gap of 20 years, wore a deserted look even as Pakistan and Bangladesh played out a goal-less draw in the opening encounter here.
"We have asked the AIFF to provide complimentary passes to school kids and even parents will be allowed free entry. They will have to show their identity cards at gate number 14, which has been thrown open for them," Maken said after inaugurating the championship.
"We have asked Satpal, who is the director of our school division, to work on this," he added.
The empty stands at the stadium, which was packed to rafters during the opening and closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games last year, was bad advertisement for football, a sport struggling to get a foothold in the country.