Contractual obligations, legal bindings and ICC diktat. World Cup tournament director Ratnakar Shetty in an interview to NDTV, cited these reasons for and expressed his anguish over the ticketing furore that plagued Bangalore and looms large on other matches as well. Excerpts
Q. What do you have to say about the David Becker letter?
We are very unhappy with David Becker. He did not need to write that letter. By writing these kind of letters, you are disgracing people working in the organisation. I dont know which one of the ICC sponsors asked them to write. These sponsors come to us for extra tickets and we are helping them. But if David Becker and ICCÂ keep behaving like this then we will not entertain them. We won'tÂ unnecessarilyÂ oblige them.
The ICC ticket tourÂ logisticÂ gets 10% of the tickets, but they dont take all the tickets. Only tickets for matches which have aÂ deficiencyÂ are demanded. Why should we give the icc tickets then if only 4000 tickets are available for the public? We will sell them at the ticket window. Every year for India matches there are limited seats & tickets available and we will try to see that the public gets more access to tickets.
Q Is the ICC doing this to give an advantage to their associate sponsors?
We dont know why the ICC is doing this but we are going to show our anger. They do not know that in India the cricket board is not run by the board but by the cricket associations and every association has these problems but to make such a big issue out of this isÂ unnecessary.
Q In Bangalore there are 7000 tickets while in Munbai there are only 4000 tickets. Why has such an infrastruture been allowed to develop?
You have to understand that cricket is the only game which is autonomous in India and the stadiums were built from public funds. The association did not have enough money at that time so the contractual obligations which we had could only be returned by giving away seats. TheseÂ contractualÂ obligations exist in all venues so if we say that its an ICC event and we can't give you tickets then they can go to court & the court will rule in their favour as the contarct that you signed 25 years back will have to be maintained.
Q. What about the 4000 tickets to be sold in mumbai?
The 4000 tickets will be sold by the MCA Â and we wont let the ICC interfere in this.
Q. The ICC has also questioned Sehwag playing without a jersey number. Will the ICC force him to wear a jersey number?Â
We have spoken to Sehwag about this and he has said that he does not want to wear a jersey number and that this is not a new thing. During the World T20, he played without a jersey number too but the ICC did not say anything then. The 15 man list that we sent to the ICC did not have a jersey number against Sehwag's name. The ICC had no problems that time and we do not know why they are complaining now. But one thing is for sure. Sehwag will play without a number on his jersey.