M A I N   N E W S

WANKHEDE STADIUM: No tickets please, only cops and canes 
Out of 32,000, only 4,000 seats for public
Shiv Kumar/TNS

Mumbai, March 31
Cricket fans who were hoping for a ticket to catch the World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium had to return disappointed as the Mumbai Cricket Association stopped sale of tickets to ordinary fans. A number of cricket fans who rushed to the stadium this morning following India's victory in the semi-finals against Pakistan were chased away by policemen. The situation got ugly as fans yelled slogans against the cricket officials and the cops had to resort to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd, police said. The recently renovated Wankhede Stadium with a capacity of 32,000 has just 4,000 seats reserved for the public.

According to MCA, sources the bulk of the seats have been reserved for various cricketing bodies. The International Cricket Council, the organisers of the tournament, alone will get 8,500 seats while 14,000 tickets are being distributed to various clubs affiliated to the MCA.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has been allotted 2000 tickets and other bodies like the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation are beneficiaries as well. Cricket officials however deny that they are short-changing the average fan. “We have not reduced the number of tickets for the general public. We are giving 4000 seats for the general public as we did in the 1996 World Cup even though the seating capacity of the stadium has been reduced from 38,000 to 32,000,” says BCCI official and Tournament Director of the World Cup Ratnakar Shetty.

He went on to say that cricketers and fans who are members of 350 clubs in Mumbai will also benefit from the quota allotted to them. “They are also members of the public and will be able to enjoy the match,” Shetty added. Meanwhile, the state cricket body is raking in the moolah from the corporate sector. More than 40 corporate boxes with a capacity to seat 15 people each have been sold for an average of Rs. 3.75 crore. The title is valid for the next 10 years. Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries alone is reported to have bought three boxes. Other groups like Vijay Mallya's United Spirits, TCS, Bajaj, Essar, etc are among the other buyers. Public holiday in Mumbai for final TNS: The Maharashtra government has declared a public holiday on Saturday when India takes on Sri Lanka for the World Cup final under the Negotiable Instruments Act. The decision was taken as a security measure. All state government and central government offices will be closed. Schools and colleges will be shut as well. The Mumbai police had earlier recommended that Saturday be declared a holiday so that the number of people coming into South Mumbai is curtailed. The holiday will be applicable only to Mumbai and its suburbs. 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |