FIFA U17 World Cup: Controversy in Kolkata about ticket distribution, police complaint lodged

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A group of locals, known as the Golden Card numbers, registered a police complaint on Saturday.

When the West Bengal government started constructing the Salt Lake Stadium in 1982, they floated an offer for the local sportslovers. A non-profit organization, named Society for Sports and Stadium (SSS), offered a chance to become a 'golden card-member' of the new infrastructure, by donating 10,000 Rs. (close to 1,25,000 Rs now adjusting for inflation) to the cause. The golden card-members are entitled to get free tickets for every match held at the venue.

Everything went fine for the next 35 years, but the U-17 FIFA World Cup has become the first aberration of the rule, not offering tickets to the initial patrons of the venue. This has not gone well with some of those fans, who gathered at the local police station on Saturday to launch a police complaint. While they wanted to document their protest, they didn't want it to be a spoilsport to the grand event, one of the protesters informed. "We have, hence not lodged an FIR, but a general diary," he added.

With the SSS organization now defunct, the long-time workers of the stadium complex used to send the tickets out of goodwill, but the LOC has not followed the process, a well-placed source informed.

There is disappointment also among the former footballers of the city, who have contributed for years to the lively footballing scene of the city. While Indian Football Association (IFA) asked for almost 200 tickets, they were granted only 85. Fifteen Arjuna, Padmashree and Dronacharya award winners have been handed season tickets, while a lottery would decide which footballer gets a pass for which match. The lottery was done at the IFA office by former footballers Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Dipendu Biswas, Jamshid Nassiri and Kartik Seth.

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The demand of tickets was high in Kolkata from the moment the sale started, and the organizers are hoping that spectators will come out in numbers on Sunday.

 

 

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