India and West Indies will face each other in what could be an explosive semi-final of the World T20 2016 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The Wankhede Stadium is run by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) from its headquarters in the stadium complex itself.
This match will feature big hitters like Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy to with Indian batting strength, especially Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. This makes the match a must-watch for every cricket fan. But if you are thinking about buying a ticket for yourself now, forget it. The match has been sold out and all the free passes have also been given out.
MCA gave out 250 free passes of the semi-final to the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra government Mr. Swadhin Kshatriya. The Wankhede stadium has a total capacity of 33,000 people, but only 4,000 seats were made available for the general public via ticket booking.
Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, a former MCA office bearer and game development general manager in BCCI said that giving passes to the general secretary is not illegal and as per an agreement between the Maharashtra government and the MCA, 250 passes of the Garware stand will be given to government for every international match played at the Wankhede Stadium.
He said that the government donated Rs 20 lakh in 1974 when the stadium was being built and for similar reasons the five major gymkhana clubs in Mumbai Hindu, Islamic, Parsee, Catholic and Bombay Gymkhana get 4,200 free passes.
Shetty said, “Since MCA did not have enough funds at the time Wankhede was built, the stadium was run on donations. So every international match we had, we gave away more than 19,000 passes to the donor. Earlier the capacity of Wankhede was 38,000 but after the renewal, the capacity was restricted to 33,000 seats.”
Since India qualified for the semi-finals, the MCA office has required increasing amount of requests for tickets. While many of the fans booked tickets well in advance, some have just arrived with the hope that they might score a ticket from here or there before the game.
Anil Galgali, an RTI activist from Mumbai has written to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, stating that joint secretaries of MCA, Dr. P V Shetty and Prof. Uday Khanvilkar have issued 250 free passes to the state government and he expressed dismay that top bosses of state government could fall prey to free ticket bonanza.