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Belarus raises the bar with record crowds

Published: Saturday 25 July 2009, 12.58CET
The history books were rewritten at these finals. Belarus may not be best pleased after finishing on the wrong end of a record 9-0 defeat, but the hosts will be much happier with unprecedented attendances.
by Oleg Sokol
from Minsk
Belarus raises the bar with record crowds
Spectators at the Belarus-France game in Borisov ©Sportsfile
Published: Saturday 25 July 2009, 12.58CET

Belarus raises the bar with record crowds

The history books were rewritten at these finals. Belarus may not be best pleased after finishing on the wrong end of a record 9-0 defeat, but the hosts will be much happier with unprecedented attendances.

The history books have been rewritten at the 2009 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, and while Belarus may not be best pleased after finishing on the wrong end of a record 9-0 defeat last Sunday, the hosts are much happier with unprecedented attendances.

'Concerted effort'
A crowd of 4,500 at Saturday's final in Borisov between Sweden and England – the second highest in finals history – took the aggregate number of tournament spectators beyond the 40,000 mark, almost tripling the previous best of 14,773 set in 2006. It was reward for a "concerted organisational effort" according to Belarus Football Federation president Gennadi Nevyglas. "There were adverts throughout the city and on TV," Nevyglas told uefa.com. "We also invited children from summer camps – they told me they were fed up of going to the forests and wanted to see some football."

New marks
The 3,850 supporters that turned out for the goalless draw between Iceland and Norway on the opening day was a new high for a match at this tournament, surpassing the 3,500 that watched last year's final in Tours. An hour later the record was broken again as 5,000 were in Borisov to see the hosts defeated 4-1 by Switzerland. "I know the supporters really enjoyed it," Nevyglas added. "Belarus lost but they were cheering the team on right until the end."

Record win
Even they struggled to raise a cheer as the hosts were overwhelmed by Germany, a 9-0 defeat surpassing the five-time champions' previous mark of 8-0 set against Russia in 2004. Yet the aggregate tournament attendance record has been smashed, and the only record left standing is for any match in the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, qualifying or finals. A crowd of 6,002 in Ludwigshafen saw Germany beat Finland 3-0 in the third round of the 1999/00 edition, when the competition was U18. Belarus have set a high benchmark for next season's final hosts, FYR Macedonia.

UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship attendances
YearHostsAggregate finals crowd
2008/09Belarus41,544
2007/08France14,185
2006/07Iceland4,332
2005/06Switzerland14,773
2004/05Hungary12,740
2003/04Finland7,280
2002/03Germany14,588
2001/02Sweden11,705
Last updated: 05/02/10 18.22CET

http://www.uefa.com/womensunder19/news/newsid=854210.html#belarus+raises+with+record+crowds

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