The Commonwealth Games are less than seven months away, and when the quadrennial event happens it is set to be a challenge, not only for the organisers, but the sport loving public of Delhi. If scenes from the hockey World Cup are anything to go by, things aren't looking good.
Torn tickets, tobacco stains and leftover food make the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, one of the best of its kind in the world, an eyesore after every game. The hockey event, which has recorded attendances as high as 15000 on some days, however, has got away lightly in comparison to cricket.
It's now become de rigueur for irate fans to tear up seats, trash toilets and generally make a genuine nuisance of themselves when the on-field action isn't going as they like. Estimates vary, but a Delhi & Districts Cricket Association insider suggested that “between 2000 and 4000” seats have to replaced after every cricket match. Narinder Batra, treasurer of the DDCA, said the damage was severe after the abandoned ODI against Sri Lanka. “Close to 2500 broken chairs had to be replaced after the entire episode. The crowd was angry but channelling the anger is the key,” said Batra.
This kind of behaviour is not limited to Delhi, with places like Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai having faced problems in the past. At the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, however, the situation was different, claimed Biswarup Dey, joint secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal. “A passionate sporting culture is missing in the city,” said Dey. “In Kolkata, we do have sporadic incidents of unruly behaviour but they are strictly dealt with.”