Counterfeit tickets at IPL final endangered spectators

May 25th, 2009 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, May 25 (IANS) The 31,000 capacity Wanderers stadium housed more than 38,000 spectators in the Indian Premier League (IPL) final here Sunday due to alleged selling of counterfeit tickets, posing a huge security risk, according to a local daily.

“An incredible amount” of counterfeit tickets had been intercepted, said The Star quoting Alan Khourie, the Chief Executive of the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) which administers the Wanderers Stadium.

“We’ve informed the (Johannesburg) metro police about the tickets we’ve found,” Khourie told The Star.

“But we suspect there must have been many more because I have never ever seen the stadium this full. It’s dangerous.”

“On the grass embankment they (were) packed in like sardines; there (was) no room to move at all. Over on the open stand (on the opposite side) it (was) just ridiculous.”

Khourie also said people were sitting in aisles and standing behind the seats in some areas.

“We were sold out for the (recent) Australia game and I can tell you it was not as full as this. This is our stadium, I know it intimately.”

Although Khourie would not disclose the alleged source of the fake tickets, they are believed to have come from a company contracted to work for the IPL.

Khourie said the GCB would allow the police investigations to proceed before considering any other action, including possible criminal charges.

This incident is the latest in a range of spats between GCB and the IPL since the tournament started here five weeks ago. At one stage, the venue was even in doubt for the finals because suite holders were reluctant to release GCB from their contractual obligations as the IPL insisted on securing all the suites for its exclusive use.

There was also dissatisfaction over the IPL changing the initial price of 200 rands to 300 after GCB had already sold tickets at the earlier price, with the local organisers expected to absorb the additional cost.

Despite the clear disregard for local health and safety regulations that affected the huge crowd, the final, including massive fireworks displays, went off without any mishap.

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