PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — About 200 legitimate ticket holders were denied entry into the Queen’s Park Oval last Saturday for the climax of the Trinidad and Tobago leg of the Caribbean T 20 tournament, officials have reported.
Disappointed fans were turned away as stands appeared filled on account of unruly patrons and counterfeit ticket holders, which forced officials to shut the gates.
Scores of persons without legitimate tickets ignored calls to stay away from the venue fuelling an illegal trade in which $40 tickets were being sold for more than $200 on Saturday.
“The fire services decided to close the gates before the 8:00 pm (local time) start because the stands were filled.
But the stands were not filled," said Patrick Rampersad, chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board's (TTCB) International and regional matches committee.
"There were seats available but what you had were people putting coolers and bags on three and four seats in some of the stands and taking up seats that would have gone to other ticket holders”.
More than 20,000 spectators are reported to have attended the double header lured by the second match which saw the hosts scoring an 80 run win over Guyana.
Rampersad is insisting that the TTCB did not over sell tickets for the matches and that a seat was available for every ticket printed.
However, the TTCB chairman said that people allowed to enter unauthorised entrance points without legitimate tickets compounded the problem.
"I agree that people with legitimate tickets were not allowed. The fire services closed the gates and they did want to re-open,” he said.
"They re-assessed the stands and felt they could accommodate a few hundred more but the police did not think it was safe. It would have caused too much pushing because not all the people outside would have been allowed in”.
The TTCB says a discussion is to take place with the WICB before any decision can be reached on reimbursing patrons who were denied entry to the matches.
"Imagine the father of one of the national cricketers, who was already in the stadium, went to the gates and made noise and the security allowed him to bring eight people in without tickets,” said Rampersad.
"When all these things happen, obviously people with legitimate tickets could not get in”.
In a statement Monday the WICB commended the TTCB’s hosting of the first leg and announced that history was created after matches were sold out for the first time in regional cricket history.