India’s cricket authority has been lambasted by sports fans over ticketing chaos and shoddy planning during the opening matches of the men’s World Cup.
(Bloomberg) — India’s cricket authority has been lambasted by sports fans over ticketing chaos and shoddy planning during the opening matches of the men’s World Cup.
On Sunday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the sudden sale of 14,000 additional tickets for the highly anticipated and supposedly sold-out grudge match between the host nation and arch-rival Pakistan at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad — the 130,000 capacity ground that’s the world’s largest and named after India’s prime minister.
Earlier, the BCCI also made a last minute schedule change to the same game to accommodate the festival of Navratri, prompting further outcry by spectators who had already made travel plans and booked out hotel rooms across Ahmedabad. Last week, players for England and New Zealand were greeted by empty stands at the tournament’s first game at the Modi stadium, despite the official booking app showing few tickets left up for grabs.
“We don’t know how many tickets there are, and how many have been sold already,” said Sharda Ugra, a senior Indian sports journalist who has covered cricket for three decades. “It is not a transparent system — they don’t have any respect for the paying public.”
India’s planning fiasco has been placed in stark contrast to the last tournament in 2019 hosted by England, where tickets were sold out more than six months ahead of the opening match and the final schedule was posted just over a year before its start. In comparison, the BCCI posted its timetable less than two months before the World Cup’s launch. The Indian authority didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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The organizational turmoil also threatens to deflate Modi’s soft power push soon after India’s year-long festival-like presidency of the G20 summit and just months ahead of a national election where the premier will look to secure a third term. The BCCI is led by Jay Shah, who is the son of Modi’s Home Minister and close ally Amit Shah.
The South Asian country is hosting the World Cup for the first time in 12 years. In that period, the BCCI has become one of the richest sporting bodies in the world thanks to the roaring success of the glitzy, American franchise-style domestic Indian Premier League short-format cricket contest.
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