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Thursday, July 19, 2018

MCA sealed 405 unsold WC final tickets

In his report to late MCA president Vilasrao Deshmukh,former vice-president Ratnakar Shetty says the decision was taken keeping in mind the law and order problems and last-minute logistical demands

Written by Devendra Pandey | Published: July 2, 2013 1:20:52 am

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) had sealed 405 tickets for the 2011 World Cup final that eventually went unsold,according to its former vice-president Ratnakar Shetty.

In his report to late MCA president Vilasrao Deshmukh last year,Shetty pointed out that the decision to seal the tickets was made under exceptional circumstances,which need to be appreciated.

The MCA had appointed Kyazoonga as online tickets partner considering that the Mumbai police was not in favour of box office sale. The police believed that because only a few tickets were made available for the public,there could have been law and order problems like those seen in Bengaluru,Ahmedabad and Nagpur,where the police had to resort the lathi charge during ICC World Cup. The ICC,too,was not in favour of the box office sale and they suggested online sale of tickets.

In his report dated May 6,2012,Shetty said: “We had earlier planned to make at least 3500 to 4000 tickets available for the general public at the box office. Unfortunately the total tickets available for public sale was only around 2000.”

Lots were drawn at the MCA office in the presence of MCA officials and Kyazoonga was asked to contact the winners for payment and collection of tickets. The MCA had opened a counter at the Mumbai Hockey Association from where Kyazoonga was to operate for the online tickets.

The response to online sale was not on expected lines in spite of reminders as people were waiting for the line-up for the finals. In the mean time,Mumbai Police received information about the possibility of LET terrorists having obtained tickets for the final match through online sales. The police agencies started scrutiny of all the tickets sold online and Kyazoonga was asked cooperate with in the investigations.

The counter at BHA was closed down and Kyazoonga had to operate from their office in Andheri causing a great deal of inconvenience to the people whose names appeared in the online draw. “Kyazoonga faced lot of problems and as on March 29,2011 – much beyond the deadline – a number of tickets of both the ICC quota and MCA quota were not picked up by the lucky winners of the draw. On March 30,2011,Kyazoonga was asked to close the online sale and return the balance tickets to MCA office,which they did so on March 31,2011 evening,” Shetty explained in his letter,a copy of which is available with The Indian Express.

According to the records maintained by those in charge,the following tickets were returned by Kyzoonga: North Stand: 108,Sunil Gavaskar (L) 540,Sunil Gavaskar (U) 163,MCA Pavilion 76 and Vithal Divecha Pavilion: 180.

“As soon as Indian team qualified for the final by defeating Pakistan,there was huge demand for tickets and to add to our problems,the president of both India and Sri Lanka had conveyed their plans to attend the ICC WC final. As per the rules for any international match,the staging association has to make provision for paid tickets which the participating teams are entitled to purchase,” Shetty further wrote,adding,“At the same time,Sri Lankan Cricket Board and Bangladesh Cricket Board too wanted tickets for the final. Whereas there were written request from speaker of the Assembly to make the provision for paid tickets to be purchased by the MLA’s. MCA president Sharad Pawar had advised that some paid tickets be kept aside to meet the last minute request from Sr. Govt. Officials as also the Central and State Ministers and MP’s.”

The ticket committee,under instruction from Jt. Hon. Secretaries,tried their best to dispose off the tickets that came back from Kyazoonga by allotting the same to those who had applied to MCA and at the same time kept aside tickets required for the teams and others as mentioned above.

The sale of tickets from the office was stopped after there were reports of a sting operation by a TV channel alleging irregularities in the sale of tickets and black marketing. In fact,a channel had carried out a sting operation on tickets being sold by a member of MCA in the office itself just few days before this episode.

“On April 1,some of the balance tickets were distributed to the managing committee member on the advise of Jt. Hon. Secretary according to Surender Shewale and Pradeep Jhaveri. All the other balance tickets were sealed on the night of April 1,2-11 and this is as recorded in the unsold tickets,” the veteran administrator said.

It was decided by the core committee that the first row of North Stand seats were not to be sold as the view was cut off the by the advertising hoarding (42 tickets out of these were taken by the managing committee members and the rest balance).

In the Sunil Gavaskar Stand,the tickets were priced at Rs 1500 each to the public but they sold 954 tickets in the stand for Rs 10000 each to the ICC providing snack boxes. Thus total revenue earned from the sale of Sunil Gavaskar lower stand tickets was much more than what was expected.

“Given the demand for the tickets for this big game,it was very easy to dispose off the balance tickets but in the absence of a fool proof and transparent sale of tickets there were chances that it could have gone into the wrong hands. The decision to seal the unsold tickets in the given circumstances needs to be appreciate as there was a lot of pressure from within for tickets at the last minute. It should be noted that almost all international matches,we do seal unsold tickets as the tickets which we make a provision for are not picked completely,” Shetty said.

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