By Nick Butler at the Cumberland Hotel in London

Mikhail Butov admitted mistakes in terms of attracting spectators but was not disappointed with the overall ChampionshipsNovember 6 - Moscow did make mistakes when trying to attract spectators to this year's World Championships but were not "disappointed" with the nine-day competition overall, Russian Athletics secretary general Mikhail Butov has admitted.

Russian officials had made repeated assurances to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in the build-up to the Championships that the 78,000 capacity Luzhniki Stadium would be full.

But there were regularly less than 10,000 spectators there for morning sessions, while in the evening for the finals it was half empty, particularly in the early days of the Championships.

A negative comparison was also drawn with London 2012 where the Olympic Stadium was full, even for morning sessions.

Reason given for the poor attendances included the searing summer heat and, despite success on the medals table, apathy with athletics in Russia in comparison with other more popular sports

Butov, the competitions director for the Championships, conceded mistakes were made, particularly in terms of the promotional campaign beforehand, even though IAAF President Lamine Diack had publicly warned them about their lack of activity.

He claimed this because, despite holding 300 annual athletics events at all levels, "only one of these events is ticketed" and they consequently have "very little experience of selling tickets".

The World Championships received criticism for the lack of spectators in the stadium...particularly in the early stages of the eventThe World Championships received criticism for the lack of spectators in the Stadium

"Spectators was a very big challenge for us," Butov told insidethegames at the Sport Events Management Conference here.

"For me, it was not a big surprise because we understood the whole situation about tickets and athletics in Russia.

"People are familiar with competitions but not for ones that they have to pay for - we have very little experience of selling tickets.

"At the World Championships you have additional motivations, such as big stars, but if you are not used to paying and it is on television, maybe that is enough.

"We made some mistakes at the beginning and we now understand better about promotion during the preparation period."

Butov highlighted one particular mistake which related to the height of the advertising boards.

These were so high, he explained, that it was very difficult to see in the eight rows closest to the track to the extent that they were "decorated" and not used for seating.

But Butov insisted the Russians "were absolutely not disappointed with the Championships as a whole".

"We did all that was possible during the competition and we're not unhappy - we received some very good feedback," he said.

Ukranian fans thanking Russia for the Championships...they were among the most vocal fansUkranian fans produced a banner "thanking Russia" for the Championships...they were among the most vocal fans

He claimed the overall attendance was 361,000 and compared the improvement in spectator levels between the early and later days of the Championships.

Methods to boost crowds included an agreement with "Ukrainian partners", who organised tickets for a large, and vocal, contingent of fans from that country to attend.

Butov described the presence of Ukrainian fans as "very funny as we sometimes used Ukrainian language to help them interact and participate".

He added: "But it was also very successful and there was a huge announcement on last day, 'to Russia thank you from fans from Ukraine.'" .

Other methods used included billboards and posters, the mascot - an anthropomorphic sparrow - and the release of a Russian language magazine about athletics.

Yelena Isinbayeva was one of the stars of the World Championships and is helping to inspire more interest in the sportPole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva was one of the stars of the World Championships and is helping to inspire more interest in the sport

He claimed these efforts will help boost the profile of athletics in Russia and helped make stars in the country of people like triple gold medallist Usain Bolt and pole vault champion Yelena Isinbeyeva

"When Yelena visited the market street, she was called the 'Russian Michael Jackson'," Butov said.

"This was because a lot of people were surrounding her.

"It was fantastic for Russia and there was unbelievable interest because she is a real star."

Butov is confident the success of the World Championships will help attract more athletics events to the city, including the Russian National Championships currently held in Kazan.