ICC to sell blocked tickets through ballot

Saturday, February 26, 2011

BANGALORE - The International Cricket Council (ICC) would sell unused blocked tickets through a ballot system for the remaining World Cup 2011 matches, especially the semi-finals and the final, in view of unprecedented demand from fans, a top official said Saturday.

We have decided to sell all the unused leased tickets through a ballot system for future matches, especially the semi-finals and the final, to be fairer to all, including the public, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat told reporters here.

For the high-octane India-England Group B match in this tech hub Sunday, the ICC has, however, decided to sell online the tickets it had sought and reserved for its use Saturday night 8 p.m. onwards through its designated website www.kyazoonga.com.

No matter what sort of capacity we provide, the truth is we wont have enough seats to meet the unprecedented rush for tickets from the general public,” Lorgat said.

Admitting that there were fewer number of tickets for the public through general sales, as majority of the tickets were reserved for sponsors, channel partners, clubs, associations affiliated to the Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI), Lorgat said the ticketing sale for the general fans was in the hands of hosts.

The ticketing sale is in the hands of hosts and not the ICC. We have some commitments to our sponsors, commercial partners, BCCI associations and guests, Lorgat asserted.

Regretting the chaos that was witnessed Thursday when only 7,000 tickets were sold to the public through counters at the stadium, depriving thousand of frenzied fans an opportunity to watch the Sunday match, Lorgat said those were the unfortunate scenes the ICC would not like to see again at any venue of the World Cup matches in the sub-continent.

The frantic rush for the tickets is an indication of the popularity of the 50-over format and the passion fans, especially in India, have for the game, Lorgat pointed out.

Police Thursday used canes to control the milling crowds, as the paltry 7,000 tickets for the general public in the 40,000-capacity stadium were sold out in three hours flat.

The ICC and local organisers have since drawn flak in the face of soaring demand for tickets.

Though the ICC is not clear how many of the leased tickets are being returned, Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) secretary and former Indian speedster Javagal Srinath said all the unused tickets would be made available for local fans online at the price they were earlier sold at.

“Unused leased tickets are coming to us in batches of 50-100 and in some cases 200-250 from the ICC. These will be sold online and not through counters at the same price they were bought earlier,” Srinath said.

The unused tickets were sold earlier through online in the range of Rs.1,250 to Rs.7,500 per ticket.

The ICC is also likely to surrender a large number of tickets that were originally reserved for its sponsors, commercial partners, clubs, associations and VIP guests who were to watch the match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The tie was shifted to Bangalore last month.

“As the match got shifted from Kolkata to Bangalore at a short notice, not many English and Kolkata fans are likely to turn up due to travel and other reasons. ICC also gave many complimentary tickets for protocol reasons,” a KSCA official said told IANS at the venue.

According to Srinath, about 8,000 blocked tickets were sold online for English and Kolkata fans.

Though the capacity of the stadium is estimated to be about 40,000 seats, Srinath said due to official commitments, about 31,000 seats were reserved for various cricket associations, club members, channel partners, sponsors, former cricketers and VIPs, while about 7,000 seats were for general fans.

“Blocking of seats in such large numbers has been in practice over the last five decades for protocol reasons and due to other obligations. We need to change the system to increase the number of seats for die-hard fans of the game. We are open to suggestions from the public,” Srinath noted.

Of the 31,000-odd tickets for the Sunday match, 8,700 were allotted to the ICC, 8,250 to KSCA members, 4,500 to various state government departments, 4,000 to Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), 4,000 to various cricket clubs across the country and 2,000 to the BCCI.

We expect about 10,000 tickets will be available for sale online later in the night through the website, the official added on anonymity.

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