Big ticket mess for big-ticket cricket match

Sale lockout

Big ticket mess for big-ticket cricket match

Police lathi-charge cricket fans who had lined up for tickets for Sunday’s India-England World Cup match outside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Thursday. DH photo/M S MANJUNATHA majority of the fans who thronged the ticket counters at the venue from the wee hours of the day had to return disappointed as only 7,000 tickets were on sale for Sunday’s clash between India and England. Struggling to control the massive throng, the police used their canes, leaving the area resembling a battlezone. Three of the seriously injured fans were rushed to the Bowring Hospital.

The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), hosts of the tie, could only plead helplessness over the whole affair, stating it had to meet commitments to the parent body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the original hosts of the contest.

“For a match of this stature, even if you double or triple the amount of tickets for the public, it will not be enough. But there is a limit till where we can fulfill people’s expectation. It is a big challenge but even our hands are tied. Around 7,000 tickets were all sold out in three hours (from 8 am),” KSCA Secretary Javagal Srinath said.

After the match was shifted to Bangalore, the KSCA was forced to keep almost 7,000 tickets for fans who purchased them online (through official ticketing site kyazoonga.com), believing the match to be in Kolkata. That included English fans as well as those from Kolkata, but till date, there is no news on how many of them will turn up for the match.

“Whether the same people will be attending the match, someone else comes in their places or if they sell it to somebody... any of these things can happen, we don't know. Even if they ask for refund, it will have to be through www.kyazoonga.com and not us. Because we didn’t sell those tickets,” KSCA spokesman Sujith Somasundar said. “We may get a clear idea about how many of them are not coming a day before the match and in that case those tickets can be put on sale only online,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ICC itself resembled a divided house, with one of its officials writing a letter to its president Sharad Pawar expressing unhappiness over the ticketing issue, specifically concerning the final scheduled to be held in Mumbai on April 2.

In a memo leaked to the media, ICC’s legal head David Becker accused Pawar of mismanagement and said he was “threaten(ing) to undermine” the whole tournament with the way tickets were being distributed. On Monday, kyazoonga.com, which was expected to sell 1,000 tickets for the final, crashed as fans tried to log on in just 20 minutes.

As the dust settled around the Chinnaswamy stadium by Thursday evening, the only hope for Bangalore fans came from Srinath’s statement. “We are getting back some tickets from the ICC and the CAB and those will be sold  through kyazoonga.com. If needed they are also willing to sell those tickets on the day of the match. So, all is not lost for the people of Bangalore,” Srinath said.

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