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Stadiums getting refurbished, getting visas and making security arrangements: Ratnakar Shetty recalls challenges in organising 2011 WC

IANS | September 24, 2023 12:25 PM

NEW DELHI: With just 11 days to go for the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup to begin in India, all ten teams will be fine-tuning their preparation and seeing who are their best personnel in case they are hit by injuries before or during the competition.

While teams will be busy with their quest to win the biggest prize in 50-over cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will also be tested in their organisational skills of solely hosting a major event.

Granted that India hosted matches of the Men's ODI World Cup in 1987, 1996 and 2011, it was in association with other neighbouring boards. But in 2023, India is hosting the entire 48-game competition, as compared to playing hosts for 29 matches in 2011 – with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh getting 12 and eight games that time.

Professor Ratnakar Shetty, who was the tournament director in 2011 World Cup, recalled about the challenges faced in organising the tournament successfully. "The biggest organizational challenge was that three of the eight stadiums eg Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata were undergoing major refurbishments, getting visa in place for the teams and ticket holders, security arrangements during the matches, " he said to IANS.

Shetty also talked about the process of allotment of games in 2011 amongst eight venues - Mumbai, Nagpur, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mohali, Ahmedabad and Kolkata, who lost out on hosting the India-England match due to delay in completion of construction work at Eden Gardens.

"The final was to be played in Mumbai. The state units were asked to choose either an India game or knock out. Mohali and Ahmedabad opted for knock out games and by lots Ahmedabad staged quarter-final and Mohali semi-final."

"Kolkata was to stage India-England but the ICC inspection team declared that the stadium would not be ready hence the match was shifted to Bengaluru who got to stage two India games and as luck would have it Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Mohali also got to stage India games, ” he added.

Since then, India hosted 2013 Women’s ODI World Cup and 2016 Men’s T20 World Cup successfully, apart from hosting various editions of IPL and inaugural edition of WPL this year. But in World Cups, there is a never-ending demand for tickets to watch the best of players and teams in action.

"BCCI had successfully hosted 1987 and 1996 CWC games so the host associations were ready to host the games. Mr. (Sharad) Pawar (ICC President that time) had advised the host units in India, SL and Bangladesh to ensure that ticket rates are not high and provide free tickets during the non India games to school kids, " stated Shetty.

He also recalled the system in 2011 about the methodology of ticket distribution, admitting that there is always a huge constraint on tickets out up for sale for the Cricket World Cup matches.

"The state units of BCCI are obligated to provide a quota to their members for every match apart from the sponsors, government agencies. Apart from the paid tickets each state unit has to provide for complimentary tickets to different stake holders for all matches played at a stadium."

"The BCCI working committee had suspended the provision of quota of tickets to member units for the CWC so that more tickets could be sold and staging unit had to provide OTB option to buy tickets to BCCI and ICC as per the directives issued. 10% of the tickets were available for online sale.”

In the run-up to 2023 World Cup, there was a huge outcry from the fans on social media over less number of tickets being put for sale for general public and Mastercard holders, especially after the schedule was released only 100 days away from the competition and further changes were made too.

Shetty explained how tickets for general public are allocated for a World Cup game in India, citing the example of Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, which has around 30, 000 capacity.

"There are about 350 clubs, who are members of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). They are entitled to a certain reservation and similarly, the gymkhanas, who are founder members, or the Garware clubhouse, which again gave a donation when the stadium was built. Then there are government obligations, where donations were received at the time when the stadium was being built.”

"So, these are the obligations which the association has to fulfill for every match that is played at the Wankhede Stadium. After all these tickets are obligated to be given, there is also a contractual obligation during a World Cup game that they have to give ‘X’ number of seats, as defined by that agreement, to both BCCI as well as ICC.”

"There is no choice; it has to be given. If you keep aside all that, at the end of it, the association would be able to sell around 2000 seats. In the 2011 World Cup, if I am not mistaken, the total number of tickets available for the final match on the online sale was about 1500 tickets.”

"This outcry is there every time an ICC event happens. It was there in 2011 also. But the fact is that the tickets for the public is what remains after the association takes care of its obligations, requirements or agreements with ICC and BCCI, and then whatever remains is put on sale online."

"So, this is something which was there in 2011 also, I can assure you of it. There was a lot of criticism that the tickets which were made available were less. But then, there are issues which every state unit has to fulfill or have to take care of their own requirements, " concluded Shetty.

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