ICC Champions Trophy officials believe large numbers of empty seats at today’s ‘sold-out’ semi-final between England and Pakistan are due to India’s absence.
Sparsely populated stands were in evidence at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff despite hosts England making the last four.
It is thought Indian fans had bought as many as 40 per cent of tickets for the game, believing their team were likely to feature in the first semi-final. However, they won their group and are due to play Bangladesh at Edgbaston tomorrow (Thursday).
The ICC, which collects information on the team preferences of ticket-buyers, urged fans no longer wishing to attend the Cardiff game to place their tickets on the official resale site ahead of last night’s deadline.
While 5,000 were listed, around 8,000 Indian fans are believed to have bought tickets. The main postcodes for ticket purchasers for today’s first semi-final were Cardiff, Birmingham, Harrow and North London.
Around 2,000 tickets for the Edgbaston game were listed on the resale site.
Champions Trophy crowd figures
Some fans were surprised by the seemingly poor attendance in Cardiff.
Twitter user Rhys Williams said: “Why are there so many empty seats for a Semi Final of Champions Trophy? This game should be played in London & packed crowd!”
While Edgbaston and The Oval have enjoyed strong crowds throughout the ICC Champions Trophy so far, Cardiff has had a problem with no-shows from ticket holders, with 8,000 missing across three group matches.
“Across the three games in Cardiff there have been 8000 tickets sold which haven’t been used, which is disappointing, but beyond the selling of them and the regular communication to those purchasers, if people then chose not to use them there isn’t much we can do,” said Claire Furlong, the ICC’s general manager of strategic communications.
“That’s been reasonably disappointing here, but we are doing as much as we can across all of our channels. It is a sell-out but we are doing as much as we can to ensure it’s a sell-out with bums on seats as well.”