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World Cup 2011

Chaos in Bangalore as fans rush for tickets

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 24, 2011

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

queuing up for tickets for the India-England game outside the M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore, February 24, 2011
A policeman uses a lathi (bamboo stick) to control the crowd queuing up for tickets for the India - England game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore © AFP

The problems surrounding the sale of World Cup tickets in India have descended into chaos, with police in Bangalore conducting a baton-charge on fans queuing up for tickets for Sunday's match between India and England. The 7000 tickets were sold out within three hours, officials said, leaving hundreds of fans - many of whom had queued up overnight - angry and disappointed.

People started to queue from about midnight but soon after that were asked by the police to disperse. The fans regrouped again at around 5 am and were allowed to queue up but within the hour the crowd swelled and the queue stretched from the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of the match, onto MG road - ironically, to the crossing named after Anil Kumble, president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association - the host organisation.

By 8.30, when the tickets began to be issued, the chaos started to descend and soon the police swung into action. AFP reported that several people were injured and taken away on stretchers as police attempted to control the crowd, estimated at 5000. Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan, ESPNcricinfo's stats analyst, was among those who'd queued up from midnight. "The officials initially said only one ticket would be sold per person but suddenly they started to give two per head. Very soon, they said the tickets were sold out. We spotted one policeman holding ten tickets." He said the confusion added to the general sense of anger and restlessness.

The scenes were an eerie echo of the alarm sounded by the ICC in a letter to Sharad Pawar, where it said the high demand for these tickets created the "potential for chaos and physical injury when the box office sales open".

Javagal Srinath, the former India fast bowler who is now secretary of the KSCA, said 7000 tickets had been sold out, adding that some of the best tickets had been taken by the ICC for their sponsors. However, he said he was hopeful that more tickets would be made available over the next couple of days and would be sold online through Kyazoonga.com, the ICC's official online tickets sales partner.

"There is a limit to how much we can fulfil people's expectations," Srinath said. "It is a big challenge but even our hands are tied. For a match of this stature, even if you double or triple the amount of tickets for the public, it won't be enough. That's the tradition in India and we expected this mad rush."

Srinath explained how they arrived at the number of the tickets sold to general public. "There are about 4500 [KSCA] members, and we have to give one extra ticket to them. So that's around 7000 tickets gone there. We also have corporate commitments, and we had to give tickets to the ICC. For the first time, too, all the state Associations have taken their full quota (25 tickets each) of tickets. But we are also thankful that they are sending back some unsold tickets."

"Some more tickets are expected to be available online. We are getting back some tickets from the ICC and CAB and those will be sold online. They are also willing to sell those tickets on the day of the match. So all is not lost for the fans of Bangalore."

There was some dark humour too. Asked whether selling tickets was more challenging than bowling for India, Srinath said, "I think bowling at the dirt track was the easiest."

Sunday's game was switched in late January to Bangalore because of problems at the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata where the match, deemed to be the marquee game of the World Cup group stage, was due to be played.

Thursday's incidents in Bangalore follow widespread criticism of the shortage of match tickets for the general public - only 4000 tickets will be available for the final - and shoddy distribution of tickets bought online. The ICC letter to Pawar, who also heads the tournament's organising committee, warned of the problems and the potential fallout - including lawsuits by angry fans and corporate sponsors who have not received tickets.


Comments: 42 
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Posted by hemanth on (February 26, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

I heard that tickets were available online yesterday night (25/02/2011).. Any news??

Posted by Jordan on (February 26, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

Until India starts running cricket as a sport (i.e. with the needs of fans and players put first) instead of a business (the needs of sponsors put first), Indian cricket administrators will not have my respect. Give me an afternoon on the hill at Adelaide Oval any day over the cash-cow that is Indian Cricket.

Posted by Bala on (February 25, 2011, 22:57 GMT)

Well said, Indians deserve better treatment from fellow Indians. The most dreadful place for me to visit in the US is ...the Indian consulate !

Posted by angry on (February 25, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

We should ask the BCCI to be transparent wrt the total capacity, the tickets "pre given" to different organizations, and what was finally sold to public. I am sure that if the numbers are revealed, and less than 75% of tickets were sold to public, there will be public outrage at this giving away of "designated tickets" .... a national shame.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2011, 14:14 GMT)

this is why the World Cup should not be held in India..there's more controversy than sport.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2011, 8:56 GMT)

I am not understanding why tiket booking throught internet is not possible?. Now days every body can book the ticket through internet( eg. bus , Railway ticket). Nowonwords all ticket booking should done internet.then we can avoid all these issue.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2011, 7:52 GMT)

please increase the stadium capacity..........

Posted by S on (February 25, 2011, 7:25 GMT)

It is absolutely absurd and disgusting that in a stadium of approx. 50,000 capacity, only 7000 tickets are meant for genuine cricket fans. What happened to remaining many thousand tickets? Sponsors and ICC can't take so many for themselves. I hope somebody from Bangalore files PIL against the authorities for such silly ticket allocation.

Posted by Shankar on (February 25, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

To: Abhishek Mitra - I fully agree with you. but only in terms of size of the stadium and not with other aspects..

Posted by Madhushekar on (February 25, 2011, 1:03 GMT)

I had great faith in this team to make a difference to the cricket admin in Karnataka. I see that they have done a few things 1. Paint the stadium - The stadium was a dirty sight from outside when you come along the road from Minsk Square. 2. Overall Stadium Work - Dressing room changes etc I still think they need to do work in these areas 1. Website upgrade/revamp - very effective way to connect with people. they could have used this to put a detailed view of how many tickets would be available. 2. Forums for getting feedback from public - If you see football clubs in England they have QA sessions with fans 3. Agenda and program communication - They have yet to release their vision for the next two years. Local leagues, school leagues needs revamp, Grounds across the state and Blore in particular needs attention.

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