Mumbai: Cricket fans have lashed out when it was revealed that just 4,000 tickets will go on sale for the World Cup final at Mumbai’s historic but capacity-squeezed Wankhede stadium.
The venue for the title match, which has already been criticised for failing to meet fire safety regulations, has undergone major renovations for the tournament which led to a reduction in seating from 38,000 to 33,000.
Tournament director Ratnakar Shetty said obligations, which require 20,000 tickets to be provided to clubs linked to the Mumbai Cricket Association and 8,500 to the International Cricket Council, have slashed the selling options.
But angry fans complained that supporters were being squeezed out and questioned why Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, with a 65,000-capacity, was not named as the venue for the April 2 showpiece.
"Disgusting… only 4,000 tickets… this is a big failure of management," wrote one fan on the cricinfo website.
Another added: "Are you kidding me? Why are we hosting the final on one of the smallest grounds in the country? Assuming Eden Gardens is ready by April 2, the final should be moved there."
"What’s the purpose of hosting the final in India if only 4,000 out of the millions of spectators are able to watch it from the stands," said one more.
Shetty admitted his hands were tied by contractual duties, but said the fact that 20,000 tickets were going to clubs meant that the public was not missing out.
The ICC said that tickets for the final, as well as the two semi-finals, would be available online from Monday.
"From the outset it was always going to be near impossible to satisfy the enormous demand for tickets," said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
"But the central organising committee always wanted to provide as many cricket lovers as possible with an opportunity to experience the World Cup. That is why some tickets are now being made available online."
Meanwhile, Shetty insisted that the Wankhede would be ready for the final as well as its two other matches – New Zealand v Canada on March 13 and Sri Lanka against New Zealand on March 18.
That’s despite fire chiefs’ unhappiness at the level of safety standards at the ground.
"When we build a stadium, we take care of each and every person who will come to the stadium," said Shetty.
"Rest assured, all permissions will be in hand and all things required from the fire department."(AFP)