Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla hung on to slim hopes of hosting World T20 matches after the cricket Board said on Monday that it would delay commencement of ticket sales and wait for civic authorities to give clearances to the stadium.
“We’ll wait,” BCCI secretary, Anurag Thakur, told HT when asked whether the Board would stick to its deadline of Monday given to the DDCA for confirming availability of the venue.
The DDCA approached the Delhi High Court in a last ditch bid to salvage the matches. The court told the DDCA on Monday that it cannot allow selling of tickets till a final occupancy certificate was issued by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
“If you don’t have a stadium prepared, how can you sell tickets? If tickets are sold under court orders and later the stadium is found to be unsafe, then what happens?” a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru said.
Thakur said his announcement on Friday that ticket sales will have to start on Tuesday and hence the Board will have to decide whether to shift the matches by then was not final. “Putting tickets on sale from Tuesday was only a tentative plan. We will be confirming ticket sale schedule only in the second week of February.”
The Board’s lenient view came as the SDMC agreed on Monday evening to issue a conditional occupancy certificate to the DDCA, subject to rectification of 60 anomalies pointed out by the civic body within 20 days.
Senior leaders in the SDMC said the DDCA will also have to furnish a bank draft of Rs 50 lakh as security which will be encashed if the cricket body failed to comply with the conditions.
“We have decided to issue a conditional occupancy certificate to DDCA with a rider that they complete work on all the 60 points raised by the corporation within the next 20 days,” said Radhe Shyam Sharma, chairman of the committee.
Sharma said as per reports submitted by the DDCA, it has started work on half of the safety-related points of the stadium and has sought more time for complying with all aspects. “They have said work was started on 30 safety-related points and have sought three more weeks to wrap up work on all points. We (have) extended 20 days time keeping in view the significance of the World T20.”
The court had asked SDMC to come back on Tuesday with instructions on whether it can grant the certificate based on an undertaking by DDCA that it will ensure full compliance in three weeks.
“Ultimately it is the safety of the stadium which will host the match, that is paramount…We should adhere to the highest standards,” the court said after the DDCA counsel sought interim relief as Monday was the last date to inform the BCCI on its ability to host matches.
Gaurang Kanth, the SDMC lawyer, then told the court that an occupancy certificate cannot be granted on the basis of an undertaking. He said DDCA had given it the plans on February 5 and when the corporation inspected the stadium on February 6, it found only 40 percent work to rectify deviations in the structure had been carried out.
The DDCA was stripped of the India-Sri Lanka Twenty20 match on February 12 after the Land and Development Office (L&DO) did not issue a No Objection Certificate. However, it has issued the NOC after the DDCA made the necessary payments, for getting occupancy or completion certificate from SDMC.
The HC had in November, while allowing DDCA to hold the India-South Africa Test at the Kotla, directed it to obtain all clearances from local authorities by March 31.