ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
World Cup 2011
Ballots best means of releasing tickets - Lorgat
February 26, 2011
Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, shook off the World Cup ticketing fiasco, saying that the ticket ballot which is about to be instituted for the finals and semi-finals was the best way to deal with the heavy demand for the ruling body's "flagship event".
"It is a much fairer way," Lorgat said. "It will avoid the kind of physical risks we want to avoid and I am confident that will be a much better system to release tickets." The lack of a centralised ticketing system in the Indian arm of the three-nation World Cup has exposed two major issues: the lopsided availability of public tickets as well as a delayed distribution system by local associations, which has led to anger from fans and disgruntlement amongst sponsors.
Speaking in Bangalore, Lorgat described the police baton-charge on the crowd queuing outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium as, "unfortunate" but that "you have to accept that the rush for tickets is an indication of how popular this game is. Those are scenes we would not like to see, none of us would like to see that. It is also a fact that the local police and the local associations know best how to handle it. It is something we have no control over."
Lorgat said the letter written by the ICC's legal head David Becker to ICC president Sharad Pawar in his capacity as the chairman of the central co-ordination committee, "was not an issue". He said he had spoken to Pawar and the tournament director Ratnakar Shetty, several times since the letter became public and was sure the issue would be resolved.
"From time to time we turn to the President or in this case the chairman of the central co-ordinating committee, Mr Sharad Pawar, to intervene or to assist us with issues we are having difficulty with. In the past, whether it was issues related to visa or any other, the good offices of Mr Pawar have been very supportive and he has assisted us to sort out those issues. I'm sure that in this instance as well having turned to him for that sort of support, we will get it... Professor Shetty is entitled to react in the fashion that he did but I have no qualms about that."
He said that contrary to common perception, and the tone of the Becker letter, "there's no sponsor who wants to walk away. In fact many are wanting to come in. That's again a reflection of how fortunate we are and the strength of the game, but yes, we do have challenges with managing the requests of sponsors and their needs to receive physical tickets so that they can distribute it further to the public."
Lorgat did point out that the hosts of every ICC event were in charge of the sale of tickets and that the ICC sets and agrees on certain policies with them "well in advance" along with "several commitments" It is a fact of life that we have commitments to the sponsors who support us over a long period in our cycle. It is a fact that local hosts have a commitment whether it is to local organisations, whether it is to clubs, whether through the BCCI."
Lorgat said the diverse distribution of tickets through various means across Indian venues mean that they find their hands of cricket lovers. "What is unfortunate is that there is a few number that go to the public as a general sale, but whether it is through the clubs, through associates, through ICC channels they do arrive at the door of the public."
All through his media conference Lorgat repeated made the claim that the ticketing crisis and the official ticketing website crashing when tickets for the final went on sale, proved the 'strength of the game', and that the supply would never be able to catch up with demand. "This is how wonderful the growth in our sport has been. It is a reflection of the popularity of the game. It certainly negates those naysayers about the demise of 50-over cricket; it shows you what the flagship event means. Sure we need to find better ways of being able to distribute tickets, but the reality is if tomorrow [we had] a 100,000-seater, we would still not have enough tickets to satisfy the demand."
When asked when a centralised ticketing system would be put in place by the organisers of the 2015 World Cup, Lorgat said, "If my memory serves me correctly, that's exactly how the 2015 will work in any event in Australia and New Zealand. These are the reflections we will have to consider and look at improving the mechanisms in future."
With the World Cup being the first use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in an ODI, Lorgat said that he thought the "bold decision" had been a good one. The future of UDRS in ODIs, he said, would only be made after a review of the feedback of the World Cup experience at a ICC cricket committee meeting in May. "That expert committee will consider all of the feedback and will decide on the way forward in so far as one-day cricket is concerned."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.