Cricket’s world governing body has launched an investigation into “black marketeering” during the World Cup ticket sales fiasco that left thousands of fans with no hope of seeing the marquee matches.
The International Cricket Council made the announcement after its executive board in Hong Kong received a confidential report criticising the handling of ticket sales in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“Although the event was universally acclaimed as a success and one of the best cricket events in history, the report highlighted certain shortcomings around ticketing and stadia construction,” the ICC said in a statement released late Wednesday.
The statement said the directors had “noted the appointment of forensic auditors to review ticketing during the ICC Cricket World Cup, including allegations of black marketeering”.
“Even though the event was hugely successful, it is important for us to learn lessons so that we can continually improve our events,” ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said.
The controversy over ticket distribution and availability caused a rift between the world body and local organisers during the tournament.
The choice of Mumbai for the April 2 final was controversial as the Wankhede Stadium had only a 33,000 capacity with 20,000 tickets going to clubs linked to the Mumbai Cricket Association and 8,500 to the ICC.
The remaining tickets, around 4,000, were sold to the general public.
Fans in Mohali told AFP of concerns over forged tickets being sold for the India-Pakistan semi-final.
One fan said a 500-rupee ($12) ticket was fetching up to 20 times its value.
Lorgat was forced to apologise in February after fans in Bangalore, many of whom had queued overnight in the hope of securing one of 7,000 tickets for the India-England game on February 27, were baton-charged by police at Bangalore’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
“What is unfortunate is that too few go to the public as a general sale,” he said.
“No matter what sort of capacity we provide, the truth is that we won’t have enough seats for the demand that we have on our hands.”
The ICC has also ruled that stadiums hosting major ICC tournaments must be “match ready” at least six months before the event.
Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, the home of cricket in India and one of the world’s most famous venues, wasn’t ready to host its first World Cup game, forcing organisers to move the India-England clash to Bengalaru on February 27.
The decision was a severe embarrassment to organisers and caused intense disappointment in cricket-crazy Kolkata, where an estimated 80,000 spectators were expected to pack the famous stadium.