The last time Wankhede hosted a landmark match, there was chaos during the distribution of tickets. Irregularities on the part of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and ‘black marketing’ meant that fans were starved of the action, even as 525 tickets went unsold, causing a loss of Rs. 73.5 lakh.
This happened during the 2011 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka. Now, with less than a month to go for Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test, from November 14-18, history threatens to repeat itself.
After newly-elected MCA president, Sharad Pawar, disbanded the inquiry committee looking into the World Cup ticket fiasco, doubts have grown. “One hopes the new committee will handle the ticket distribution in a transparent manner,” Ravi Mandrekar, MCA official and complainant in the World Cup final ticket fiasco, said on Friday.
Few tickets for public
Though the Wankhede can hold 32,000 spectators, more than 80% of the tickets are not sold to the public. Around 6000 tickets are kept aside for 300 affiliated clubs, another 6000 go to the five gymkhanas while 6000 are handed to the Garware club.
Apart from these, a few thousands are distributed as complimentary, most of them being cornered by government agencies like the BMC and police. “We cannot help it.
We have to give tickets to our clubs and former cricketers. They are our priority. Also, are they not part of the public?” an MCA official told HT. He however hoped the situation would not be as bad as the World Cup finale.
Considering the rising interest, MCA is braced for requests for tickets from unexpected quarters. BCCI itself appears to be the first in line. “BCCI has sought 300 extra tickets for the big game,” said a MCA official.
Fans not impressed
These developments have not left fans impressed as it would mean more than a 1000 vying for a ticket.
“Keeping so few tickets for the public is criminal,” felt Karanraj Churiwala, a 23-year-old student. “What is the use of hosting such a historic match if the ordinary man cannot watch from the stands,” asked Pratik Kadam, a 24-year-old professional.
The MCA had proposed a change in the ticket distribution system, but the move was stalled in the last AGM. Things may not be much different from the World Cup final.