Wed, Mar 09, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Fans clash with police outside stadium

Reuters, NAGPUR, INDIA

Fans rush toward ticket windows as police try to control them outside the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, India, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Police clashed with hundreds of fans seeking tickets for India’s World Cup showdown against South Africa yesterday, the incident again highlighting the country’s apparent inability to handle the huge demand for seats.

Twelve days after similar scenes were witnessed in Bangalore, stick-wielding police battered fans in front of the ticket counter at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Indian media reported.

The ticket counter remained closed as police were seen trying to control the crowds swarming outside the area, as they hoped to secure seats for Saturday’s Group B match.

Ticket sales for the Feb. 19 to April 2 tournament have proven to be a major headache for Indian organizers, who are unable to meet demand for the high-profile matches, especially those featuring the home team as well as the April 2 final in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

Yesterday’s episode is likely to raise further questions about the way tickets are being distributed in the cricket-crazy nation.

Only a small quota for the major matches are being sold directly to the public, while the rest are distributed among the International Cricket Council (ICC) and clubs affiliated to the local cricket associations.

Last month, the ICC accused its own president, Sharad Pawar, of mismanaging the way tickets were being distributed and warned that tickets for the final should not be sold at the box office because the high demand created the “potential for chaos and physical injury when the box office sales open.”

The official online Web site selling just 1,000 tickets for the final crashed after 10 million hits were recorded in just 20 minutes by fans desperate to see the final. As a result, a ballot system was later announced to cope with the huge demand.

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