World T20 2016 March 20, 2016

Delhi in danger of losing World T20 semi-final


It is understood that the BCCI is concerned that nearly 1800 seats in the RP Mehra Block at the Feroz Shah Kotla will be empty © AFP

Strong concerns have resurfaced about Delhi hosting the first semi-final of the World Twenty20, scheduled for March 30.

It is understood that both the ICC and BCCI are worried that the DDCA is being forced to not allow ticket sales to the RP Mehra Block, which was the old club house at the Feroz Shah Kotla, meaning nearly 1800 seats will be empty. There is also the concern that no hoardings are allowed to be displayed in front of the stands. Those restrictions were put in place by the DelhI High Court recently while issuing clearances for the DDCA to host World T20 matches.

A final decision is likely to be reached in the next day or two, with the ICC and BCCI also discussing alternate venues to host the game.

An official involved in the organisation of the World T20 admitted that there had been "ongoing discussions" over shifting the Delhi semi-final to another venue. The biggest worry, as far as the ICC is concerned, is the prospect of playing the Delhi matches in front of an empty stand.

"Because of the order of the court no ticket can be sold. It is embarrassing to have an empty stadium particularly when you are hosting a global tournament and all the world is watching you," the official said.

Another stumbling block for the BCCI and ICC is the fate of the other games in Delhi, should the semi-final be shifted.

"Should the matches on 26th (England v Sri Lanka) and 28th (South Africa v Sri Lanka) be moved also? What happens if one of the teams playing in Delhi on March 28 qualifies for the semis?" the official asked.

Even if the semi-final is moved after numerous logistical obstacles, it is likely that if a team is already playing in Delhi, they would be against travelling to another venue just a day before such a big game.

The ICC is also not helped by the fact that it has not yet gotten the clearance to erect hoardings in front of the Mehra Block. Justice Mukul Mudgal, who was appointed as the DDCA's man in charge for the World T20, has reportedly refused to allow the ICC to erect any hoardings inside the stadium after the Archaeological Survey of India called one of the buildings housed in the block as illegal.

However, a senior DDCA official indicated that Mudgal had not given any directive. According to the official, what made matters worse was the court did not make it clear whether any permission was needed from the south Delhi municipal corporation in order to make the Mehra Block freed for the public.

On Friday, as a last resort, the DDCA approached the Supreme Court to intervene. Chief Justice TS Thakur, who is also hearing the Lodha Committee hearing, deferred the Delhi hearing to March 28. "Their question of shifting the matches is being debated at this stage," the DDCA official said.

Even before the tournament began, there had been doubts for months over Delhi's ability to host matches in the World T20. Eventually, after extending multiple deadlines to get the requisite clearances from both the Delhi government as well as the civic agencies, the BCCI gave DDCA the nod. In the past few years, these agencies had pulled the DDCA into the courts, which granted ad-hoc clearances.

Such a scenario has hurt the ICC and BCCI dearly, as they were unable to announce the final tournament schedule well in advance as is the norm. It also did not help global fans as the BCCI delayed the ticketing process till the eve of the tournament.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Pemananda Karunaratne on March 23, 2016, 21:47 GMT

    Some of the umpiring decisions of this tournament are really very poor. These can change game completely. If the review system had been available some of these could have been corrected. Just because India all the others have become the victims of bad umpiring. I C C should stand firm on this issue and allow D R S or any reviewing system for a International event where most countries are participating.

  • Dramit Singh on March 22, 2016, 8:00 GMT

    Actually I would be very happy if ferozshah kotla ground is scrapped as a world cup venue because ddca doesn't seem to be learning from their a cricketing venue ferozshah kotla is nothing but an utter disgrace.ddca has embarrassed bcci so many times already earlier but still I don't understand that why bcci just keeps alloting important matches to ddca when india has so many other great venues like pune,hyderabad,jaipur,ranchi,raipur kanpur,indore rajkot.all these venues have flood lights and excellent cricketing facilities probably one of the very best in the world.wake up bcci please because such things are embarrising our country.

  •   Shashwat Godhani on March 22, 2016, 6:59 GMT

    @ESPNCricinfo : Can we have latest update over this issue?

  • LALITHKURUWITA on March 22, 2016, 0:26 GMT


    No for Chennai. They did not allow SL players to play there.

  • DhoniManiac on March 21, 2016, 17:40 GMT

    I think Chennai deserved a match or two in this World T20 considering there will be no matches that will be played this season in IPL. Atleast they should have given the India vs Pakistan game when it was shifted from Dharamshala..

  • KHI FOPS on March 21, 2016, 15:50 GMT

    poor planning despite of having so many alternate venues.

  • S on March 21, 2016, 14:54 GMT

    Embarrasing for BCCI and for the ICC. This is an international multi-million dollar event. Not some casual school cricket match.

  • Dramit Singh on March 21, 2016, 13:28 GMT

    Ddca has been in controversies for quite some time now.this is so ridiculous that indian board has to get embarrassed again n again due to ddca.first of all ddca should be banned for life and no cricketing event should be organized in ferozshah kotla sad that rather than choosing newdelhi as a world cup venue bcci should have opted for some other venues like pune,hyderabad,jaipur etc.

  • Nutcutlet on March 21, 2016, 12:08 GMT

    I reckon that I can understand anything written in English concerning the game of cricket. That said - and having read the article above twice - I do not understand the rationale of the argument for not allowing seats to be sold in a certain area of this stadium... And why hoardings cannot be erected in another (or the same) area. Having seats in a sporting arena and not being able to set people in them (unless on the grounds of safety) seems to me to be the height of absurdity! Will someone please explain to me what is going on? Not being Indian doesn't help me at all. This is all a puzzle! I do understand dysfunctionality, however. That's what I see here. And I also know which august body runs cicket in India and I have certain opinions about the ICC's flair forforesightful good governance: thus we have a recipe for dysfunctionality made in Heaven! Can anyone shed some light on this situation for me, please?

  • FrostD on March 21, 2016, 11:23 GMT

    For an international event like this, I'm surprised as to how poorly India is prepared. I'm embarrassed. I think BCCI should consult with CAB before organizing any major events.

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