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News Features  


 

Black market monopolises world cup tickets as fans disappointed

By Srian Obeyesekere

It’s a cricket world cup and there is a tragic twist concerning tickets and cricket fans. While the extravaganza has reached its height of entering the semi-final stage, genuine fans by their numbers have apparently been shut out.
Reason because there is a sinister undercurrent running a monopoly of ticket sales.
So much so that even hungry fans in search of the Rs.50 ticket find themselves locked out.
Sadly, while the governing arm of the game – Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) claims it is helpless against this situation, angry fans continue to point an accusing finger at the cricket authorities that there has not been a coherent system of sales.
Evidently what has happened is that the black market has taken over almost en masse; a familiar sight during the Pakistan-Australia match at the gates to the R. Premadasa Stadium was the illegal running of tickets under the very eyes of the police and match security.
Last Tuesday, tickets costing just Rs. 300 for a World Cup semi-final that could feature Sri Lanka were sold out in just 90 minutes leaving about 25,000 cursing fans in cold storage.
The million dollar cricket question doing the rounds is, “The World Cup is for the benefit of genuine Sri Lankan cricket fans who simply dote over their heroes or for the black-market. Does it mean the survival of the fittest who can flex their muscles in having their own way?
An SLC official when contacted by The Nation reacted by saying, “All we can say is that we have sold two tickets per person. We can’t stop people buying tickets and how are we to differentiate between a cricket fan and an illegal ticket pusher? And we’ve not received a single complaint from a fan.”
But cricket lovers were unanimous in their opinion that there should have been a foolproof system in place to counter shady dealers.
“Most of the people who came here were businessmen who want to resell the tickets. Those were not cricket fans and real cricket fans could not get the tickets,” a 49-year photographer named Wickramage said.
Sri Lanka’s World Cup director Suraj Dandeniya said it was impossible to meet the demands of the cricket-loving public.
“We had to close the ticket counters within 1-1/2 hours as all the tickets were sold out,” Dandeniya said..
“We sold only up to 9,500 tickets but there were around 25,000 people queued up for the tickets and, unlike earlier matches, we restricted one ticket per person.”
The organising committee decided to sell 25,000 tickets to the public with a maximum price of SLR 7,500 per ticket.
The majority of tickets were priced at 300 rupees.
Last month the official online ticket website crashed due to 10 million people chasing just 1,000 tickets for the April 2 final in Mumbai.