Football is an immensely popular sport in India, coming second just after the game of cricket. It is particularly popular in West Bengal, Goa, Kerala and the North Eastern States, which are home to some leading football clubs. The Indian Soccer League tournament reinforces the popularity of the game in the country. Consequently, there is large number of football stadiums here, which have the best in class features as well as huge capacities.
Here is a list of top 10 biggest football stadiums in India:
1. Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
The Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata is the biggest football stadium in the country with a seating capacity of 68000. The stadium, however, witnessed a record attendance of 131000 in 1997, during a match between Mohan Bagan FC and East Bengal FC. The multipurpose venue was inaugurated in 1984 and is the largest stadium in India and second largest in the world, in terms of capacity.
2. Kaloor International Stadium, Kochi
Kaloor International Stadium in Kochi, also known by the name of Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, features next in the list, with a total capacity of nearly 65000 people, the record attendance being 85000 in 2010 CCL match between Mumbai Heroes and Kerala Strikers. Opened in 1996, the multipurpose stadium has been used for cricket and football.
3. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi
Next on this list is the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi, which can accommodate as many as 60000 people. The stadium was first opened in 1983 and renovated in 2010 and is the home ground of the national football team.
4. Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar is another grand venue for sports like football, hockey, tennis, athletics and swimming. The tremendous stadium was built in 2010 and can accommodate more than 55000 spectators at a time.
5. Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
Barabati Stadium in Cuttack follows closely among biggest football stadiums in India, with a massive capacity of 45000 spectators. The multipurpose stadium, used for football as well as cricket, was established in 1958.
6. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Guwahati
This multipurpose stadium in Guwahati earns a position in this list as it can hold as many as 30000 audiences at a time. Built in 1962, this stadium has been a popular venue for several cricket ODIs, in addition to a large number of domestic cricket and football matches.
7. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong ranks next, with a capacity to seat nearly 25000 people. It is one of the major venues for football games being hosted in the North Eastern part of the country.
8. Fatorda Stadium, Goa
Featuring next on this list, with a capacity of 24500 people, is the famous Fatorda Stadium in Goa. The stadium, also called the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, was officially opened in 1989 and underwent renovation in 2014. It has been used for several domestic and international football matches.
9. Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune
The next name on the list of largest football stadiums in the country is that of Pune based Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, which has a total capacity of 22000. The stadium was opened in 1995 and renovated in 2007-2008.
10. Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi
Another huge football stadium in New Delhi is the Ambedkar Stadium, which has a capacity of 20000, but recorded an attendance of 35000 in the 2009 Nehru Cup. The stadium was opened in 2007 and has been used for finals of Nehru Cup in 2007 and 2009.
Some other stadiums which deserve a special mention are Paljor Stadium, Gangtok, Municipal Corporation Stadium, Khozikode and Barasat Stadium, Barasat.