The International Cricket Council (ICC) is holding talks with the Indian government to ease visa restrictions for spectators entering the country to watch matches at the 2011 world cup (WC).
This was stated by the ICC Central Organising Committee (COC) after it met in Colombo on Friday to review the progress of the new cricket grounds in Sri Lanka and to check whether the security for the matches to be held here was in place.
"The COC discussed the possibility of visa variations for supporters entering India to watch ICC Cricket WC 2011. At present only single entry visas are permitted for tourists to India but the COC is working with the Indian Government in the hope that multiple entry visas will be made available for all supporters – except those from Pakistan – holding valid match tickets," the ICC committee said in statement.
After the choreographed terrorist attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, India introduced stricter norms for foreigners entering India. The biggest cricketing tournament is likely to lose money if the norms were not eased for the WC.
Sharad Pawar, ICC vice-president and COC chairperson, praised the progress of the new grounds at Colombo, Pallekelle and Hambantota in Sri Lanka.
He added the WC was on course to deliver a series of new world class venues – including the three in Sri Lanka, which co-hosts the event with India and Bangladesh.
With one year to the final – to held at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium on April 2, 2011 - of the world cup, Pawar said: "I am sure that the thousands of spectators, from Sri Lanka and around the world, will be extremely impressed by the new venues not just here in Sri Lanka but also in India and Bangladesh, The reports we have received of the progress are extremely positive."
ICC chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat said the WC budget would be in excess of $ 100 million. He added that tickets in Sri Lanka would be available between $ 50 and 50 cents.
Online booking for tickets would begin June 1.
The mascot of the Sri Lankan-leg of the WC, an elephant, was expected to be launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday evening. Sri Lanka Cricket officials were also expected to sell him the first ticket.
Of the 49 WC matches, 29 will be played in India, 12 in Sri Lanka and eight in Bangladesh.
The 14 matches originally scheduled to take place in Pakistan have been redistributed with eight going to India, four to Sri Lanka and two to Bangladesh
A total of 13 venues will be used with eight in India, three in Sri Lanka and two in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh will now stage two of the four quarter-finals, with India and Sri Lanka hosting one each.
The two semi-finals will be staged in India and Sri Lanka, with the final in India. All venues for matches will be confirmed and announced in due course.