The last-minute shifting of the India-Pakistan World T20 match to Kolkata may result in Pakistani fans having a tough time in procuring a visa for the March 19 encounter.
There were reports that around 200 Pakistani fans were expected to arrive at original venue, Dharamsala but as it may turn out that the 67,000-seater Eden Gardens may end up having hardly 20 or less fans from the neighbouring country.
Meanwhile there will be 30,000 tickets will be up for sale for general public at the biggest stadium in the country.
“It is not very easy for a Pakistani passport holder to get an Indian visa. The clearances take a lot of time and now with only eight days left, it is really difficult to procure the visa. In order to apply for visa, you need to give a photocopy of your ticket,” Tournament Director MV Sridhar told reporters.
Sridhar said that the Pakistan players had got their visas in Bangladesh during the Asia Cup. “It is a three-tier process for Pakistan team to get the Indian visa. First clearance from Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS), then Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) followed by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).”
Sridhar informed that they have got full assurance from the West Bengal government administration about foolproof security arrangements.
“I have had discussions with Chief Secretary (Basudeb Banerjee). I have also had discussions with CAB president Sourav Ganguly.”
The reason behind choosing Eden Gardens was also because in case (theoretically) 25,000 people who were supposed to watch Dharamsala game land up in Kolkata, they can all be accommodated, which will not be the case in any other stadium.
“We had to keep in mind that there should be provision for the 25,000 people, who had bought tickets for the Dharamsala game. Also we can assure that there will be 30,000 tickets up for sale for that match,” Sridhar said.