ICC orders probe into crowd unrest after fans turned away from Dubai International Stadium

Many ticket-holders unable to attend T20 World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan after thousands of ticketless fans surged into the ground

The ICC has issued an apology to ticket-holders who were turned away from Dubai International Stadium on Friday night after crowd unrest marred the T20 World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The sport’s governing body have also ordered the Emirates Cricket Board to investigate how the situation occurred.

Pakistan beat Afghanistan by five wickets in front of a thrilled crowd inside the stadium in Dubai Sports City.

However, many more supporters carrying valid tickets were prevented from entering after the gates were locked midway through the first innings of the match.

The measure was taken after thousands of ticketless fans surged on the stadium.

Crowds breached the outer perimeter of the arena, and massed outside the entrances to the stands.

Once the gates were closed, a number of fans – some carrying Afghan flags – were seen scaling the stadiums walls in an attempt to force their way into the stands.

Mounted police attended the area where the disturbance took place, and an anti-riot police van later arrived on the scene.

“More than 16,000 tickets had been issued for tonight’s game between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” the ICC wrote in a statement.

“However, thousands of ticketless fans travelled to the venue and then attempted to force entry into the stadium.

“Dubai Police and security staff secured the stadium to ensure the safety of everyone inside and brought in significant additional resources to disperse the crowd and calm the situation.

“At approximately 7pm, Dubai Police directed that all gates should remain closed and no further entry was permitted to maintain a safe and controlled environment inside the venue.”

The match was a keenly-anticipated meeting of the two neighbouring Asian nations. More than three hours before the match, hundreds of Afghanistan supporters started to congregate at a car park opposite the ramp leading up to the stadium.

The atmosphere at that point was entirely joyous, with fans waving flags, painting each other’s faces, and dancing to music.

However, as the 6pm start time approached, it appeared many supporters without tickets had become intent on making their way into the ground.

“The ICC has asked the ECB to undertake a thorough investigation into tonight’s events to learn any lessons and will work closely with authorities to ensure there is no repeat of this situation in the future,” the ICC statement said.

“The ICC, [Board of Control for Cricket in India] and ECB apologise to any fans with valid tickets who were unable to enter the stadium tonight and request they contact the ticket provider.”

Updated: October 31st 2021, 7:34 AM
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