CGF chief Michael Fennell launches probe into ticketing issue | delhi | Hindustan Times
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CGF chief Michael Fennell launches probe into ticketing issue

delhi Updated: Oct 09, 2010 13:55 IST

Unhappy with the "still unsatisfactory" attendance at competition venues, Commonwealth Games Federation on Saturday launched an investigation into the complaints of unavailability of tickets by people despite empty seats at some stadiums.

CGF chief Michael Fennell made his unhappiness clear when he intervened Organising Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot answering a question on ticketing issue and said that in a meeting today it was decided the matter would be investigated and report would be submitted by Sunday.

"You (Bhanot) were not in the meeting this morning. If people go to the ticketing counters and they don't get tickets there is a problem. We have asked for an inevstigation and we hope to get a report by tomorrow," Fennell said at the customary press conference.

OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi did not attend the media conference for the second consecutive day and Bhanot had to face a volley of tough questions from the scribes.

Asked why Kalmadi skipped the media conference today also, Bhanot said, "He attended the monitoring committee meeting and he is fine. I am the OC Secretary General and I am here."

Fennell, however, said that the attendance at competition venues has improved but "still not satisfactory".

"There has been certain improvement in the attendance. All the venues we have checked yesterday have better attendance. We will continue to pressure the OC to ensure that the attendance is increased whether through sale of tickets or issuing tickets to various groups," he said.

Bhanot said low attendance at some venues could be that holders of tickets issued to the sponsors and corporate sector did not turn up.

"We have sold 9,46,206 tickets till now, including 50,000 yesterday, and the interest of the people is increasing. The stadia I have visited yesterday had very good crowd. In venues of popular sports the attendance is very good.

"The boxing stadium was full and there was very good crowd at the athletics venue at Jawaharlal Stadium. There was good crowd in badminton, gymnastics, tennis and wrestling," he said.

"We gave you the information on the basis of our ticket vendor IRCTC's report. We have also issued tickets to our corporate sponsors and I think their guests have not turned up," he added.

Asked if there is any case of tickets being sold at black market which is resulting to tickets not available at counters but stadiums are still not full, Bhanot said, "I don't have any information on that. There is also the case of spectators not sitting the whole day. If they come in the morning and are not there in the evening we cannot do anything."

Fennell said the slew of problems being encountered in the Games have not affected the conduct of competitions and comfort of athletes.

"They (the problems) have not affected the competitions. All the competition venues are all right and the events are running on schedule. We are getting continued positive feedback from the athletes, their comfort has been properly looked into and that is the most important part.

"The quality of the competition has been good. Games records have been created though how many of them we will know later from the technical delegates," he said.

Asked to rate the Games at the halfway mark, Fennell joked, "It is the halfway mark and it is fair to put it at half (5 out of 10).

"On a serious note I would say the Games has been successfully running and the glitches have not affected the competitions. There has been problems in broadcasting and the General Information System but that has not affected the broadcast of the Games. The picture quality has been excellent," he said.

Fennell also thanked the Indian government for promptly resolving the issue of helicopter coverage for the cycling road events and marathon.

"We want to say on record that the response to the issue by the government has been prompt. We also thanked the people of Delhi for their understanding in the exclusive Games lane being used. There is still some transportation issue regarding delegates but it is all right for the athletes," said Fennell.

Bhanot informed that helicopter coverage will be given in two cycling events -- one at Parliament Street and the other at Noida -- and men's and womens's marathon on October 14.

Fennell said the CGF is yet to get a full report from the Indian authorities on the freak accident at the Games Village which resulted injury to three top Ugandan officials.

"We are yet to get a report on the Ugandan accident. We are paying attention to the three officials injured at the accident. OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi has tendered personal apology on the Ugandan team. We are anxious to find a full report on how the accident had happened," he said.