ICC urges fans to resell unwanted tickets for Cardiff
Supporters who no longer want to attend the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy are being urged to put their tickets up for resale by midnight on Tuesday in an attempt to avoid pockets of empty seats at the grounds.
The ICC collects information on the team preferences of ticket-buyers (those that opt to select a team) and with 30% of those for the Cardiff semi-final specifying India there had been suggestions of a mass no-show.
So far there have been 5000 returned and resold for the England-Pakistan semi-final in Cardiff and 2000 for the India-Bangladesh match at Edgbaston, with both matches officially sold out. The main postcodes for ticket purchasers for Wednesday's first semi-final have been Cardiff, Birmingham, Harrow and North London.
While Edgbaston and The Oval have enjoyed strong crowds throughout the group stages, Cardiff has had a problem with no-shows from ticket holders, with 8000 missing across three group matches. The England-New Zealand match was 300 tickets away from a sellout, but on the day there were significant holes in the crowd.
That has partly been attributed to the poor weather, which affected the first week of the tournament, but an ICC spokesperson said the number of unused tickets in Cardiff had been a "disappointment", although they were confident of being able to maximise the 14,000 capacity for the first semi-final.
"Across the three games in Cardiff there have been 8000 tickets sold which haven't been used, which is disappointing, but beyond the selling of them and the regular communication to those purchasers, if people then chose not to use them there isn't much we can do," Claire Furlong, the ICC's general manager of strategic communications, said.
"That's been reasonably disappointing here, but we are doing as much as we can across all of our channels. It is a sellout but we are doing as much as we can to ensure it's a sellout with bums on seats as well."
Although tickets have to be reposted by midnight they can continue to be sold in the morning although, so far, returned tickets have been snapped up quickly. The ICC will make a decision on whether there will be walk-up sales when the final return figure is known.
Hugh Morris, the Glamorgan chief executive, defended his ground after it came in for criticism for the crowds during the tournament. "The first game that we hosted in the tournament was England and New Zealand. Our capacity was just over 14,000 and there were 13,900 tickets sold and a couple of hundred available at the end after being sent back at a late stage," he told BBC Radio Five Live.
"We had ostensibly sold that game out. In reality there were about 10,000 people in the ground and we need to find out why those people didn't turn up. The weather wasn't great. Whether that has had an impact I don't know."
England captain Eoin Morgan said: "Cardiff has always been a very good venue for us and the last game we had great support and a full house and everybody seems to get right behind us. I think tomorrow is sold out. That is what I have been told."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo