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Second India-West Indies ODI moved to Visakhapatnam, Ganguly says ‘no compromise’

9:42 AM ET

A dispute over the allocation of complimentary tickets has resulted in Indore losing out on hosting the the second ODI between India and West Indies. Visakhapatnam will now host the match, which is scheduled for October 24.

The matter came to a boil after the simmering dispute over complimentary tickets, between the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) and the BCCI, came to light last week. Under the new constitution of the BCCI, which has been approved by the Supreme Court, only 10% of tickets for each category can be distributed as complimentary. The MPCA argued that the BCCI’s request for complimentary seats in the pavilion block for sponsors and official partners exceeding the 10% entitlement.

Unable to get a convincing response in time from the BCCI, whose “decision making” it called “unilateral, arbitrary, mysterious and leisurely”, the MPCA refused to signed the mandatory venue agreement and also told the board it was in no position to host the match.

ESPNcricinfo understands former BCCI and MPCA secretary Sanjay Jagdale attempted to play the mediator’s role this week, asking Milind Kanmadikar, the MPCA secretary, to meet BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to sort out the issue. But Kanmadikar remained unconvinced and opted to wait for the BCCI’s final decision.

According to an MPCA official, the BCCI, in its last communication to the state association on September 29, stated that the venue needed to adhere to the 10% entitlement for each category while making the remaining 90% of the tickets available for the public.

While the MPCA has blamed the BCCI for asking for more tickets than the 10% limit, the state body does not want any cap on the distribution of complimentary tickets, because it needs to cater to the demands of its own patrons, members and government officials.

Although shifting the match out of Indore may have temporarily resolved the dispute, the BCCI’s troubles are far from over. The MPCA is not the only association to cry foul over the allocation of complimentary tickets. Even the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), which is headed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, has stated that the 10% limit on complimentary tickets is arbitrary. The CAB owns Eden Gardens, which is scheduled to host the first T20I of the West Indies series on November 4.

Ganguly warned that the CAB would not “compromise” on the distribution of the complimentary tickets, even if the BCCI wanted to shift the match away from Eden Gardens. “We will have to give the complimentary tickets which we have been giving. We cannot compromise on that,” Ganguly told the Indian Express.

Ganguly said that the MPCA grouse was “legitimate” and pointed out that the CAB distributes almost 30,000 tickets, which is nearly half the capacity of Eden Gardens, as complimentary tickets to various government agencies that play a part in organising an international match. “I cannot go and ask the government agencies, bureaucrats – people who make the match happen – to collect tickets and pay,” he said.

Asked if the CAB would be willing to forsake the game if a solution could not be found, Ganguly said he was keeping an open mind. “I don’t know what they (the BCCI) will do. If they want [to take the game away], they can. But we are not going to compromise.”

It is understood that the CAB has not sent any communication to the BCCI, but one board official pointed out that state associations ought to understand it is not the board but the staging units that earn the gate receipts.

The BCCI is not surprised by Ganguly’s comments, but has said the state associations should have raised the issue of complimentary-ticket allocation in front of the court, when the matter was being heard, if they were so concerned by it. The BCCI, which is currently being overseen by the two-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), has sent a communication to all the state associations recently, pointing out that staging venues would need to make public the distribution of tickets, including the complimentary quota, on their websites.

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