ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

South Africa v West Indies, Group B, World Cup 2011, Delhi

Police cause food shortage at Kotla

Firdose Moonda at the Feroz Shah Kotla

February 24, 2011

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

South African fans await the start of their team's opening World Cup game , South Africa v West Indies, World Cup, Group B, Delhi, February 24, 2011
Fans had to endure scarce and limited food options during the game © AFP
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A food prevention exercise by the Delhi police resulted in a severe food shortage at the Feroz Shah Kotla during the match between West Indies and South Africa. Until the late stages of the match, more than 150 service people, spectators, and media were without food due to the police crackdown. There was even the danger of the South African team going into the game without lunch.

"We arrived at 12.30 and made arrangements for lunch to arrive then but it only arrived at 13.10 because of the security and police," Mohammed Moosajee, the South African team manager, told ESPNCricinfo. West Indies, however, arrived a little after 13.00 and found their food was on time, some of them having eaten at the hotel. South Africa's 40-minute wait, though, was much shorter than the hours other people had to endure before being allowed to eat.

Trucks carrying food packs for all the service staff in the stadium, including ball boys and ushers, were turned away at the gates. Police denied them entry, effectively allowing all the food they had brought with them to go to waste. "Our vehicles were all accredited, but only two of them came in and one was turned back," one of the catering managers at the venue said. "We were not allowed to bring anything in. The food was all cooked, but it all spoiled."

Someone else who was at risk of having his prepared food go bad was television commentator and former England opener Geoffrey Boycott, who had brought his own meal with him. He had suffered from throat cancer and caters for his specific eating needs. "I don't eat curries, which is what they normally give you. So I bring sandwiches. Anything which is spicy just burns," he said. Police wanted him to leave the sandwiches outside but Boycott wouldn't budge. "I said, 'I want to speak to the general or the brigadier, whoever's in charge, 'cause I'm taking my bloody sandwiches in'." An official came to Boycott's rescue and ensured he was able to take his sandwiches with him.

Fans did not go completely hungry but the usual selection of food, ranging from Indian snacks, patties, samosas, was nowhere to be found, not even in the expensive pavilion stand where tickets were close to Rs 4600. Only sponsor's soft drinks and potato chips stalls were allowed inside the stadium. Other vendors were not allowed into the venue, something that can only be achieved as a result of weeks of planning, as is done at the IPL.

An administrator with the IPL team, the Delhi Daredevils, who play their matches at the Kotla, said the franchise sets up a fully functional office at the stadium six weeks before the tournament starts. It is that office which the ICC has operated out of in the run-up to the event. They meet with the police once a week in order to brief them on what food is coming through and when to expect it. With the ICC not going into such intricate details with the security forces, they have not been able to ensure the same kind of cooperation.

The food scarcity was one of several issues that the media faced. Accredited tickets did not work at the security scanners, everything from the wi-fi to the coffee machine collapsed for a few hours, and the meals for the photographers went the same way as the food for the service people. Fresh packs had to be prepared and sent to the stadium, and were eventually let in close to the end of play. Reporters who had been through matches in Dhaka, Ahmedabad and Delhi gave the Kotla the thumbs down - in overall organisation, not merely in matters pertaining to food.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Comments: 42 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (February 25, 2011, 7:57 GMT)

Amateurs study tactics-professionals study logistics.Without organizational ability the World Cup will go down as a farce.In Rugby and Soccer their WC's have credibility as the highest prize in their particular sports.I can't say the same thing for cricket.So far we have had a ticket fiasco,grounds not being built on time,games having to be moved due to terrorism,food not being delivered,etc,etc, This past summer we had 20,000 English fans attend the Test Matches every day in Australia.I'm guessing only 1% of that number from England watched England's first game.Sadly the lack of foreign fans is telling the tale about what people around the world think of the tournament. The sub continent needs to produce a strong tradition of following the rule of law in order to reduce corruption,get able people into authority and have a well educated population before it can even hope to organize a WC,let alone arrive as a force as Sanjay Mandrekar optimistically called it.

Posted by John on (February 25, 2011, 6:19 GMT)

@sbansban: if you do live in the USA, then you must never go to sports events. While the type of food available at US sports grounds might not be to everyone's taste (it's hot dogs, burgers, nachos and other fast food items) there's never any shortage of things to eat. There are also decent restaurants at every stadium for people who want more than snacks during the game. Don't forget, the big US sports (American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey) only last 3 hours or less as a rule, so people generally don't eat proper meals. Still, there's never anything like the shambles that has been described at Kotla.

Posted by David on (February 24, 2011, 21:23 GMT)

This is crazy, if the security concerns are so high at this stadium why host a game there in the first place? The article says the food trucks were even authorized to enter but still go turned back? Commentators can't bring in sandwiches? Is Boycott on some world terrorist list now?

Posted by Rahul on (February 24, 2011, 21:21 GMT)

I went for the match and there was no shortage of food for me whatsoever. Had a burger in the first innings with a coke, later on had a kebab roll and munched on some fries my friend was having. More of my friends had other stuff to eat, there was decent variety. No question of food not being available at several times of the match. Then there people roaming around with chips and whatnot. Perhaps the media and the South African team faced a problem, but come on .. dont magnify it as if the whole stadium was starving and there was barely enough food!

Posted by bharath74 on (February 24, 2011, 21:15 GMT)

Everyone who goes to the stadium shud understand that they never allow food, as they are companies that bid for contract to serve food in the stadium. stop making this a big issue like the Ponting TV saga ppl.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 24, 2011, 21:08 GMT)

shame on India. it is good to see problems faced as that makes you even better. None the Less Sanjay Manjrekar should eat his words , talking all big about how India is going on to the next level , even after the common wealth fiasco , there are still issue. My advice learn and grow from experience in that way the country will grow. With people Like sanjay around ir seems far fetched. but either way i have faith India will be a super power in the future. And by the way Sanjay also should be removed from commentating as he is one sided and less informative as how commentators are.

Posted by Anupam on (February 24, 2011, 21:06 GMT)

it's better to be safe than sorry. In this world ridden with the bane of terrorism, it is more advisable to be sure about the legitimacy of something. Other things like wi-fi, coffee machine not working...although petty things but shows a lack of attention to detail of the organizers. I hope another round of blame game doesn't start and the powers to be own up to a failure and not just boast of their success!

Posted by Dev Alok on (February 24, 2011, 21:04 GMT)

Waow some of you guys are harsh on Delhi. Someone dropped the ball but it looks it is the organizers and not the police. Now is ICC, BCCI or DCA going to stand up and claim responsibilty. Is someone going to give attaboy to Kotla pitch!

Posted by Rohith on (February 24, 2011, 20:20 GMT)

People need to understand the security personnel point of view here.. Terrorists have become very sophisticated and security ppl are in their right to stop unauthorized trucks from entering in..I would rather go hungry for a day than being victimized to some terrorist attack... Now as to why the trucks were unauthorized, that is something ICC has to be blamed for not BCCI.. This article clearly says that the same procedure is followed during IPL aslo.. so it is something the Indian officials have done properly previously.. it is ICC thats failed now..

Posted by Big on (February 24, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

This is pathetic for Delhi. Kotla should be banned from hosting any international cricket games until they get their act together. If you are so scared due to security (I can understand why - remember what happened to SL in Pakistan) let other cities host the games, there's plenty of stadiums to go around. At least they did not have any players throwing their box (cup) around breaking TVs :)

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