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Apologies for fans, but still no tickets

cricket Updated: Feb 25, 2011 12:00 IST

AFP
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Indian cricket chiefs apologised to thousands of fans left short changed by the World Cup's deepening ticket chaos on Friday, while firing a broadside at the sport's international rulers.

Tournament director Ratnakar Shetty, who is also the chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), admitted fans had been let down.

However, he said contractual obligations had complicated ticket distribution. "We are sorry the fans have been let down," said Shetty. "We understand their sentiments but we can't do much."

On Thursday, the situation boiled over when baton wielding police clashed with thousands of fans queueing to buy tickets for Sunday's high profile clash between India and England at Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy stadium.

Several people were injured as police attempted to keep order among the throng estimated to be 30,000 strong.

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

The violence came as the International Cricket Council (ICC) expressed its concerns that the squeeze on tickets and delays in delivery were pushing its relationship with its powerful commercial backers to breaking point.

The ICC's legal head, David Becker had written to its own president, Sharad Pawar, who is also the chairman of the World Cup organising committee, demanding a solution be found.

One of their major worries is the system to sell the remaining 4,000 tickets for the April 2 final at Mumbai's compact Wankhede stadium, over the counter.

"We are unhappy with Becker's letter. It is totally uncalled for," said Shetty. "The Wankhede Stadium was only officially approved as the venue for the final on January 27 and it takes some time for the ticketing prices to be completed. "You cannot expect tickets to be made ready beforehand."

The choice of Mumbai for the final has been controversial as it only has a 33,000 capacity with 20,000 tickets going to clubs linked to the Mumbai Cricket Association and 8,500 to the ICC.

Fans have complained that supporters have been squeezed out and questioned why Kolkata's Eden Gardens, with a 65,000 capacity, was not named as the venue for the showpiece occasion.