Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 18 News List

World Cup’s final venue finally wins fire approval

Reuters and AFP, MUMBAI and COLOMBO

Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, venue for the Cricket World Cup final but criticized last week by the city’s top fire chief for not meeting safety standards, finally got clearance to host matches on Tuesday.

“We have given NOC [no objection certificate] to the stadium. They have fulfilled all the fire safety norms at the stadium,” deputy chief fire officer A.N. Shinde told the Press Trust of India after inspecting the 33,000-seat stadium.

Last week safety inspectors were unhappy that mandatory fire equipment, including water hydrants, no-smoking indicators, alarms and extinguishers were still not in place.

“We have given them the compliance certificate. They can host matches. The stadium is safe and secure,” Shinde added.

Wankhede will stage the April 2 final as well as two group stage matches on March 13 and March 18.

TICKET HEADACHES

While the venue is cleared for the final, getting tickets for could be another matter.

Tickets for the Cricket World Cup final will be sold via a ballot after the official Web site crashed under the pressure of huge traffic.

“There will be a ballot and we’re working with the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] and our official online ticket agents Kyazoonga to finalize all the details. They will still be sold via the Web site,” an International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman said.

Not a single ticket for the April 2 final to be held at the Wankhede Stadium was sold to the public after the official Web site went into meltdown on Monday, sparking furious complaints from fans.

“We apologize to anyone who was trying to get on, but these are exceptional circumstances when 10 million people were trying to get on the Web site at one time,” the ICC spokesman said on Tuesday. “They [Kyazoonga] were working throughout the night to get it up and running and not one ticket has been sold from the quota we had.”

Of the 33,000 seats at the Wankhede, around 4,000 are available to the public — 1,000 online and another 3,000 will be sold later for those who line up at stadium box offices. The rest are to be distributed among the ICC and clubs affiliated with the Mumbai Cricket Association.

On Tuesday morning, the Web site was back up and at first glance it looked as if all the tickets had sold out since those matches were not showing up on the “tickets for sale” schedule.

However, a small message tucked on one side of the Web site trumpeted: “And we’re back! All semis and finals tickets that are to go up on sale here are intact. Please stay tuned for further updates.”

Fans continued to bombard the online ticket agency’s Facebook page with angry comments for the second day running.

“These guys have not done squat and no update...wow..what a bunch of bufoons [sic],” Ibaad Lari posted from Pakistan.

Another enraged fan, Rishi Dave, added: “I freakin woke up in the middle of my sleep to check if the site was working or not. since me being on Australian time i also checked the website when most of you were sleeping, BUT same as before wudnt [sic] do anything.”

“You guys are lucky you can go queue at stadium ! ... i took day off to book these tickets for final and i cant get on the site !!!!” Sam Saleh wrote.

The ICC said it would reveal full details of the ballot as soon as they were finalized.

VIOLENT SONG BANNED

A World Cup song that carries threats against defending champions Australia as well as earthquake-hit New Zealand has been banned on orders of the Sri Lankan president.

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