What hope for regular people when three-time Olympic gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr, the father of current India player Arjun Halappa and injured goalkeeper Baljit Singh are among a large number of players, families and others running from pillar to post hoping to get a ticket or a pass for the hockey World Cup?
But if you’re on that list, don’t cuss the organisers --- it’s out of their hands. Ask the Delhi Police or the Sports Authority of India (SAI) instead.
International hockey federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre on Saturday publicly blamed the security agencies for changing their ticketing and accreditation system at the nth hour, leading to the current mess.
What handicapped the organisers was a diktat from SAI and the Delhi Police that no one would be allowed into the stadium’s ‘Heritage Stand’ without police verification. This diktat, issued last week, left the organising committee and the FIH stranded, as the Heritage Stand was for VVIP guests of the FIH, IOA and sponsors, players’ families and friends and those who could afford the Rs 5000 tag. As police verifications in under a week on the scale needed was next to impossible, all passes and tickets to this stand were discarded.
“Some guests have now been accommodated in the VIP stand (Rs. 1000) but there’s less place. Fewer tickets are therefore available for sale and in any case, in Delhi, you have to give free tickets to a number of people like those from embassies and the bureaucracy,” said a coordination commission source.
What has upset people is why guests in one stand needed to be verified when the rest of the stands were not being put through the process. “They obviously can’t conduct a verification process for everyone buying tickets, then why for those being invited by organisers,” the source asked.
Once the Heritage Stand went, the number of tickets on sale dropped to 14,000. The majority of those were for the general stand (9,500), 3,200 for the premium stand and only 600 tickets for the VIP enclosure. “Of these, 25 percent were sold on Ticketgenie.in while the rest went to the 47 outlets across the city,” said Rajesh Tandwani, director, Ticketgenie.
Despite repeated attempts, no official in charge from either the Delhi Police or the SAI could be reached for comment on why this was left so late.