World T20 2016 February 26, 2016

WT20 ticket process makes life hard for overseas fans

32

The uncertainty over Delhi's status as a host left the travel plans of fans in limbo © BCCI

Fans travelling from abroad for the World T20 in India have expressed anger and disappointment over the delay in announcing the tournament's schedule and the ambiguity surrounding the ticketing process. While the fixtures were announced on December 11 - about three months before the event - the first phase of ticket sales, for matches in Bangalore, Chennai, Dharamsala, Kolkata and Mohali, began only on February 24. The second phase of ticket sales, for matches in Mumbai, Delhi and Nagpur, had begun at 12 pm IST on February 26, less than two weeks before the tournament. Tickets for seven "high-priority" games - four India matches, the semi-finals and final - have been put up online through a lottery system, though the results of that process won't be known for a while yet.

There were sharp reactions from overseas fans on social media; for many, the uncertainty over the fixtures was the starting point of a series of problems. "The fixtures were announced on December 11 but there was no lead in," Paul Smith, 58, from Weymouth in England, wrote in an email to ESPNcricinfo. "We didn't know when the fixtures would be announced so right back in September we were checking daily. [For] six months we have had to check if there have been updates or changes, our plans all in limbo."

For fans like Smith, the lack of clarity in the ticketing process has hampered plans for the semi-finals and finals. "Now we know that tickets are going to be in high demand for the big seven [games], but because we didn't know what the system was going to be some have booked [flight tickets] to go to semi[finals] and final.

"Obviously we have to get some kind of assurances that we can get to see the games after spending two-three thousand pounds on flights and hotels. But no one can understand why Delhi was chosen when issues [in DDCA] go back months, even years. To put such a large travelling country such as England there [England play two games], and even worse a semi-final was hard to comprehend."

It wasn't until February 9 that the decks were cleared for Delhi to host matches in the World T20; the BCCI had earlier given DDCA a deadline of January 31 to get its affairs in order before it was extended to February 8. The organising committee official admitted the uncertainty over Delhi's status as a host had resulted in "considerable time" being lost, and that it could have been avoided. A top BCCI official had earlier told ESPNcricinfo that matches had to be staged in Delhi because it "is our national capital."

Shamim Syed, a Pakistani citizen, said his plans to watch the India- Pakistan match in Dharamsala were upset as much by the issues in procuring a visa as the delayed announcement. "Watching a cricket match between India and Pakistan at the most picturesque ground in the world would have been dream come true," he wrote in an email. "But, with this late availability of tickets even if I applied for the visa, by the time it's processed the World Cup will be long done and dusted."

What complicated matters further is that the ICC website's FAQ guide on the ticketing process initially stated that the lottery system for the high-priority games would not be open to overseas customers and that a portion of tickets would be allocated to them on a first-come, first-serve basis. But, a member of the tournament organising committee admitted it was a mistake on the ICC site, and that fans from overseas could access the lottery system. He also said there was no specific number of tickets allocated for them for the high-priority games.

"The lottery system is open for both Indian and overseas fans," the official told ESPNcricinfo on Thursday. "The confusion was in the initial one hour. When it was corrected we put out in the [FAQ] PDF also. There was a small mistake in the document ICC put up but that has been corrected and put up. So there is access for everyone, and if the foreign fans have registered they also stand to win the random lottery."

However, when ESPNcricinfo verified the PDF on the ICC site on February 25 the mistake had not been rectified. When contacted the ICC's response was that the FAQ on the website "clarifies the sales process." It was subsequently corrected only on February 26, two days after the sale of tickets had begun. The ICC refused to be drawn into any discussion on the ticketing process, and said it was under the purview of the BCCI.

Chirag Thakkar, a London-based fan, said the registration window for the lottery was too long, and that tickets could have been sold in batches. "Why there is no transparency in terms of number of tickets available for each match under this draw?" he asked. "You can always release tickets in phases: if 5000 tickets are available for a match then release 2000 in phase one of sale, then another 2000 and 1000 in last phase. If this practice was started in November 2015 with the last phase in January 16 then overseas fans and Indian public both would have got a fair chance to buy.

"While BCCI and ICC have policies and code of conduct, isn't there a policy of ticket timelines for any international event. I have never seen such delays, lack of transparency [and] huge chunk of tickets reserved for sponsors."

Are you facing difficulties in planning your travel for the World T20 in India?
Tell us about your experience at fanfare@cricinfo.com or WhatsApp us on +919900590636.

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John_Raj_Mohammad_Singh on February 28, 2016, 3:58 GMT

    As a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, when the management knows regardless of how the team is doing, and how well an event is planned, EVERY SINGLE SEAT IN THE HOUSE will be full, it doesn't really matter what we all have to say now does it? We can complain all we want, but come match day, not single seat will be empty, and BCCI is well aware of that.

  • licec on February 27, 2016, 18:18 GMT

    I'd rather sit at home and listen to Beethoven. Frankly, this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for those who are not able to come. I hate to admit, but I've got an inkling that the quality of cricket may turn out to be uneven to the taste of the general fan.

  • KC_69 on February 27, 2016, 0:38 GMT

    First things first,nobody need to apologise for anyone else mistakes.Yes cricket is run by a private body for whom capital is important.There are numerous complaints which only time will justify.As of now i am going to enjoy this WT20 in peace of my drawing room.Cheers.

  • India-Do-Well on February 26, 2016, 23:17 GMT

    I am a die hard Indian supporter but BCCI folks cannot be defended. They should not be given any tournament to host. Seriously

  • Ara247 on February 26, 2016, 18:07 GMT

    India are the worst organizers

  • india43vandematram on February 26, 2016, 17:56 GMT

    our indian cricket is one which brings all peo ples together.Then it should be the duty of Bcci to solve the problem as soon as possible .

  • Graemethewarrior on February 26, 2016, 17:26 GMT

    @KUNVIN Thanx Mate ...really appreciate it...

  • senal83 on February 26, 2016, 17:10 GMT

    Wealthiest Cricketing board cannot plan a simple thing.

  • serious-am-i on February 26, 2016, 16:53 GMT

    This is shameful - feel sorry for the international fans who wanted to watch the WC T20. On a lighter note, may be if anyone's interested, they could visit the IPL matches - if at all, they're coming to India only to enjoy the stadium & cricket watching environment.

    Back on topic, If BCCI was so worried for the VIP quota reservations, they need to start reserving set of tickets for the non-Indian residents, so that they could put them up for sale at an earlier stage, making it easier for the visitors to plan their schedule accordingly. The prob is I don't think BCCI is worried about ticket sales at all, as more than half of the tickets they don't get an penny out of them because of the "VIP quotas". Let the regular tickets be put up when ever they wish to, BCCI needs to think about the probs of non-Indians seriously.

  • vatsap on February 26, 2016, 16:04 GMT

    Welcome to India everyone. Welcome to BCCI's premier event of the year.

  • No featured comments at the moment.