Police clash with fans amid World Cup ticket chaos

2011-02-24 10:03

Bangalore, India – Police used bamboo sticks to beat back cricket fans trying to buy tickets in Bangalore today as World Cup organisers criticised Indian officials over growing ticketing chaos.

Fans queuing for seats at India’s game with England in Bangalore on Sunday were baton-charged by police as huge crowds pushed towards the gates of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Several people were injured and taken away on stretchers as police attempted to keep order among the throng of several thousand fans, an AFP reporter witnessed.

All 7 000 tickets put on sale today sold out within hours, leaving many disappointed fans who had waited at the ground overnight.

A letter from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to organising committee chairperson Sharad Pawar was leaked early today, airing “serious concerns” over distribution and sales of tickets for the tournament.

There was particular concern over plans to sell the remaining 4 000 tickets available for the April 2 final in Mumbai over the counter.

“With the significant demand and little availability, there is potential for chaos and physical injury when the box office sales open,” the ICC warned. “For this reason we strongly recommend that this sale of tickets be cancelled.”

The ICC’s worst fears were quickly realised when huge numbers of excited fans descended on the stadium in Bangalore to purchase tickets for the high-profile India v England game.

The ICC told Pawar in the letter that issues surrounding distribution of tickets “had now reached critical status and require your immediate intervention”.

It said Kyazoonga, the official ticketing company, had not been given printed tickets in time to deliver them to customers.

“We have received many complaints from fans who purchased tickets but are yet to receive them despite having paid for these tickets more than six months ago,” David Becker, head of legal at the ICC, wrote in the letter.

“Apart from the threat of claims for compensation from these customers, this is causing a significant public relations issue for the ICC,” he wrote.

It also complained that the website crashed when tickets for the final went on sale, and that the ICC’s commercial partners had received none of their promised tickets for venues including the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

“This is placing our sound relationships at breaking point and it is highly likely that some or all of them will seek compensation,” it warned.

India’s organisation of the World Cup has been severely criticised since it admitted the iconic Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata would not be ready for the match between England and India.

The game was moved to Bangalore, causing major inconvenience for England’s famous so-called Barmy Army of travelling supporters.

India also attracted widespread criticism for its poor preparations and delayed construction of venues for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last October.

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are co-hosting the World Cup.

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