Bacher's blast at World Cup organisers
Guyana Chronicle
April 26, 2007

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GROS ISLET, St Lucia (Reuters) - Ali Bacher, the man who oversaw the organisation of the last World Cup, yesterday, criticised high ticket prices and strict regulations for spoiling the 2007 tournament in the Caribbean.

Speaking while watching South Africa lose to Australia in the semi-final, Bacher said he believed the majority of fans in the Caribbean were priced out of the event.

"The tickets have been just too high. For this match it's US$120 -- that's 1000 Rand," Bacher, who was tournament director of the last World Cup in South Africa four years ago, told Reuters.

"In South Africa, we kept the prices low because we said we wanted the majority of people (watching) to be South Africans, not overseas people.

"That allowed us to have an average capacity over 54 matches of between 75 and 80 percent. I think the organisers here have definitely set their prices too high. These prices that we have here, that's a lot of money.

"When the overseas visitors didn't come because India got knocked out we saw the problem. Ideally, you want the local people to come and enjoy the World Cup but most of them can't afford it."

Bacher also complained that in the early stages fans were not allowed to bring their musical instruments to the stadiums. The rules were relaxed in the latter part of the event.

"The other aspect we saw was the lack of calypso, the vibe which became synonymous with West Indies cricket," said Bacher.

"Things like that were simply unfortunate and should have been thought out. The people of the Caribbean are simply fantastic and the people have been warm and friendly to us.

"But it's a pity that more of them could not get to see the matches which were being played in their own backyard."

The seven-week tournament culminates with the final on Saturday in Barbados between holders Australia and 1996 champions Sri Lanka.