CHENNAI: The new rule making 90 per cent of tickets mandatory for public sale for international matches in India has put staging associations in a spot.
Of the venues chosen for the West Indies series starting on October 4, those hosting limited-over games are looking desperately for answers because of higher demand for tickets.
Allotted the second ODI in Indore on October 24, Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association has refused to host the match. It has said that given the distribution of VIP seats and Holkar Stadium’s capacity, it’s not possible to meet the conditions.
While BCCI is awaiting confirmation on Visakhapatnam as a late alternative, some other venues have already started facing similar concerns.
Scheduled to stage the first ODI on October 2 in Guwahati, the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) is still to decide whether it can follow the guideline incorporated in the new BCCI constitution or if it should refer the matter to the Committee of Administrators (CoA). Hosts of the November 5 fifth ODI in Thiruvananthapuram and the November 11 third T20 in Chennai, the associations of Kerala and Tamil Nadu will hold meetings to take a decision.
None of the three mentioned have signed the agreement that staging associations have to before a match. It could not be confirmed officially, but other state units given matches in Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata and Lucknow are believed to be having the same headache after the CoA, in a mail on September 29, said, “Rule 38 (8) of the BCCI Constitution, which restricts complementary tickets (including sponsor and other free allotments) to 10% in each category, has to be implemented notwithstanding any difficulties that may arise in doing so.”
Almost all these units have for several years followed their own ticket distribution system. Figures vary from place to place, but by conservative estimates, roughly 30 to 50 per cent of tickets are available for the public. Rest goes to stakeholders including BCCI and sponsors, constituent members/clubs/district bodies under the associations, local players.
Plus in many places, according to state body officials, a sizeable number of tickets goes to public agencies and service providers like the police, fire brigade and corporation.
“We will have a meeting and convey our decision to the CoA by October 5. We distribute a certain number of tickets to our stakeholders. There are matters to look into,” informed ACA secretary Pradeep Buragohain. Kerala Cricket Association secretary Jayesh George said they are conducting a process of seat mapping at the stadium after which the CoA will be updated.
“The executive committee will meet on October 4 to take a decision,” was the response of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association secretary RI Palani.
According to BCCI veterans, Test matches (Rajkot and Hyderabad hosting the two against West Indies) are not a problem because of low demand for tickets, but the equation changes during ODIs and T20s.
“To run an association and get permissions from various departments, you have to oblige them. Then there are clubs and members who pay annual or lifetime fees. They are entitled to tickets which can’t be categorised as free passes. Don’t think all this can be covered in 10 per cent,” said a former official of Mumbai Cricket Association, which is presently being run by a CEO in the absence of office-bearers.