Lorgat defends Wankhede ticket shortfall

Cricket boss defends decision not to hold World Cup final in bigger ground, saying Mumbai will be 'Tendulkar fairytale'.

    Lorgat said that holding the final in Mumbai would give India legend Sachin Tendulkar a proper sendoff [GALLO/GETTY]

    The head of the International Cricket Council defended the decision to stage the World Cup final in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, saying it would provide the perfect setting for the city's favourite son Sachin Tendulkar to script a "fairytale" ending.

    The decision to hold the final in Mumbai will mean between 15,000 and 25,000 fewer seats available than if it had been held elsewhere, amid growing frustration at the shortage of tickets.

    Lorgat appeared to dismiss the shortfall, saying there would not be enough supply to meet demand whatever the capacity.

    The 33,442-seater Wankhede has the second lowest capacity out of the eight Indian venues hosting matches during the six-week tournament also being held in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

    While Kolkata's revamped Eden Gardens could hold almost 60,000 fans, Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla and Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel grounds have around 50,000 seats but all of them were overlooked for the April 2 final.

    "You know you have got choices to make," International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Lorgat told reporters on Wednesday.

    "Can you imagine a (more) fairytale ending with Sachin Tendulkar getting a hundred in the final and India winning at the Wankhede which is his home ground?

    "And no matter what the number (of seats), we do not have sufficient tickets."

    Fans, seeking tickets have clashed with baton-wielding police in the subcontinent bringing the tournament on the verge of being a public-relations disaster.


    The violence forced the organisers to shelve plans of selling some tickets for the final through box offices.

    Lorgat said the organisers did not have the means to satisfy the ticketing demands of a cricket-loving country that boasts a billion plus population.

    "Attendances have been phenomenal. We expect that from the quarter-final stages every single seat in the house will be sold," Lorgat said.

    "It's an unfortunate reality that it's a finite sum of tickets and there is huge demand for it."

    Demand of tickets for matches featuring the three co-hosts, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, have far exceeded supply.

    Last month the official online ticket website crashed due to 10 million people chasing just 1,000 tickets for the final.

    There have also been reports in the local media about allegations of black marketing of tickets while people waited in long queues.

    About 200 people shouted slogans and displayed placards against the local organisers outside the Sardar Patel Stadium – which will host the India v Australia quarter-final on Thursday – alleging mismanagement of tickets and black marketing.

    "We simply don't tolerate black marketing of tickets and where we have found those instances we have certainly taken action," the top ICC executive said.

    "In certain instances there have been arrests. We do alert police and other officials to ensure that does not happen."

    The tournament has been a learning point for the ICC and the governing body will look at ways to handle the ticketing issues better in the future, the chief executive said.

    "There is always a better way of doing certain things and there are few lessons that we can learn from it," Lorgat said.

    "But the fact is that the demand has been absolutely phenomenal and no matter how well we tried we could not fit in the demand into the supply that we have got."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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