In a major embarrassing turn of events, the International Cricket Council (ICC) was left red-faced after it failed to print tickets for the World Cup game between West Indies and Pakistan in time, ahead of the match at Trent Bridge on Friday. With fans left stranded even as the first innings of Pakistan neared completion, the ICC is now looking at refunding the money to all those who couldn’t enter the ground initially. Having spoken about the processes that have been put in place for the smooth organisation of the showpiece event, this episode two days into the tournament has not just caused raised eyebrows, but also left fans worried as many head towards England and Wales from across the globe.
The World Cup is more than just a cricket tournament and for Asians it has a lot of emotions attached to it as Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis travel from across the globe to witness their favourite cricketers fighting it out for ultimate glory and the mishap on Friday has given some of them quite a scare. “This is scary. I have bought tickets for one game (India-Pakistan) and am travelling for that, bought an air ticket, paid exorbitant visa fees. I shudder to think that the ICC may ruin my plans and then just refund the money for the match ticket. You would expect the ICC to be professional! It is a matter of grave concern,” one fan told IANS on conditions of anonymity.
Speaking to IANS, sources in the know said that fans who had booked tickets online were supposed to get actual match tickets at the ground, but due to mismanagement and technical glitches that didn’t happen. It led to protests outside the stadium as fans lost their cool. It has been learnt that the tickets weren’t printed as per plan and fans couldn’t get inside the stadium even as the first innings got over — in 21.4 overs.
World Cup Managing Director, Steve Elworthy had said: “I sincerely apologise to every single fan who was affected by the queues today. It is certainly not what we want their first experience of what is already proving to be a fantastic Cricket World Cup to be.
“We have delivered over 700,000 tickets to more than 120 countries, but not all tickets were successfully delivered and as such we have seen a higher volume collecting at the venue. It is only right that we refund these fans by way of apology. The refund will happen automatically so the fans do not need to do anything.”
The ICC is yet to respond to a query from IANS on whether any steps are being taken to ensure that such an unfortunate episode doesn’t repeat itself in this edition of the showpiece event. After all, Indian and Pakistani fans from all over the world are expected to be at the Old Trafford in Manchester when the two captains walk out for the toss on June 16.