Shetty allays fears over delays at World Cup venues

Written by: Pti
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Mumbai, Jan 19 (PTI) The delay in work at two World Cupvenues in the country notwithstanding, tournament directorProf. Ratnakar Shetty today expressed confidence that it willbe completed on time for the cricketing mega event, scheduledto begin next month.

"There are a lot of speculation about the venues. Ifully assure you that we are fully prepared. We are ready tostage this great event that comes once in four years," Shettysaid during a promotional event for the 2011 World Cup here.

"I want to assure you that all the venues, includingWankhede stadium are fully prepared and are geared up for theevent. All the media friends will have a look into the venues.

We will formally have a media presentation after the end ofthe final round of visits (by an ICC team) on the 25th(January) at the Eden Gardens," he added.

"We have a final visit only for two venues in India,Kolkata on 25th and 24th at the Wankhede stadium. This is asmall ICC committee which overlooks the entire preparedness. Ican assure you that even before this committee visits thatboth these venues will be ready.

"There is just some finishing going on. And the samething for the three venues in Sri Lanka to be prepared. Theyare putting in all their best efforts. No venue would like tolose out staging an international match, that too for a WorldCup. Therefore, no compromise would be done," Shetty said.

ICC President Sharad Pawar, who also heads the MumbaiCricket Association, too echoed in Shetty''s sentiments andallayed any fears over delay in the completion of work at theWankhede stadium. (More) PTI VKV DK ATK

"There was lot of talk in the media on whether the stadium will be ready in such a short time. But I must givecredit to my colleagues in the Mumbai Cricket Association. Youwill enjoy the much improved Wankhede stadium and itsfacilities," Pawar said.

"As Prof. Shetty has rightly said, the ICC Committee isvisiting on 24th. I am wearing two hats. I am wearing the MCApresident (hat) here so I am absolutely confident that theteam that visits the venue will be happy. They will see whatMCA has done is a miracle. And for all spectators, for matchespurpose, stadiums and grounds will be absolutely ready," hesaid.

ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said that he had not pressed thepanic button yet, but would have been satisfied had the workbeen completed on schedule.

"I would have been much more satisfied had the stadiumsbeen completed on the due date. But I am not panicking justyet. Prof. Shetty and his team are working quite hard and thefinal inspections will be held in the next few days," he said.

Lorgat also dismissed speculation that there were plansto shift matches from two venues in Sri Lanka - Sooriyawewa inHambanthota district and the refurbished stadium in Pallekele- where work is behind schedule.

"There are no plans to shift any matches. The finalinspections are going to be held soon," he added.

Hosts India and Bangladesh will kick-off the 2011 ICCWorld Cup on February 19 in Dhaka, while the final would beplayed on April 2 at the Wankhede stadium. (More) PTI VKV DKATK

To a query, Shetty said visa issues have been resolved for the teams, match officials and the ICC officials coming toIndia for the World Cup.

"I think the visa issues are resolved as far as theteams, match officials and the ICC officials coming into Indiafor multiple entries. For the period of two months, rules havebeen changed in India but for the World Cup there has been arelaxation. All other spectators holding tickets would have toapply for visa well in time," he added.

Shetty said the ICC has undertaken steps to ensurespectators for the games not featuring the hosts, in the threecountries - India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

"The ICC has undertaken a lot of promotional events. Eachof the sponsors are running promotional events. And thepresident (Pawar) has advised all the venues, not only inIndia but also Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, that for thesenon-India, non-Sri Lanka, non-Bangladesh games that will beplayed, crowds need to be coming to the ground, spectatorsneed to be there, crowds should be there.

"Most of the places you will find that there will be freeentry on their identity cards to school and college childrenand there are promotional events through which tickets will bedistributed to the spectators," he added.

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