WITH THE Group-C matches of the 131st edition of Durand Cup kicking off in Manipur today at the capital Imphal, thousands of people were stranded outside Khuman Lampak stadium.
Even though the opening match was scheduled for 6 pm, there was heavy traffic jam as police monitored and surveyed the roads, blocking most of the roads. There was an unending queue of vehicles on all the roads leading to the stadium. The stadium itself was fully packed as people struggled to get through the gallery of the stadium.
However, regardless of having a ticket, more than one-third of the people were unable to enter the stadium to watch the match. All the galleries were packed, down to the staircase leading to it.
Unfortunate incident of lathi charge by police trying to disburse avid football fans was seen as a result of the government/organizers mismanagement of ticket sale.
The reason for the avoidable incident is reportedly due to the main state stadium unable to accommodate the audience owing to overselling of tickets way above the capacity of the stadium.
People with tickets stood in line for hours from 4 pm onwards, hoping to catch a glimpse of the inside stadium but were denied entry. After the match begun, there were still thousands of people walking around with their tickets which were of no use by then, nor refunded.
A sport loving state like Manipur, especially with her interest in football, proved one thing today, judging from the number of football fans who showed up to support the home teams in the Imphal derby, certainly, calls for an upgrade in the main state stadium, and also see through the ticket havoc, or a case of blatant corruption, so that no such fiasco would repeat, for the love of football.