ICC calls for probe into scenes at Pakistan v Afghanistan T20 World Cup game

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has called on the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to conduct a “thorough investigation” after Friday’s T20 World Cup game between Pakistan and Afghanistan was marred by crowd trouble.

The ICC said more than 16,000 tickets had been issued for the game, which ended in a five-wicket win for Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium (pictured). However, thousands of ticketless fans travelled to the venue and then attempted to force entry into the stadium.

The ICC said: “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 scenes at Friday brought back memories of the last time the two teams met at a World Cup tournament, with a 2019 game at Headingley in Leeds, England being affected by crowd trouble, security issues and pitch invasions.

The disturbances outside Dubai International Stadium on Friday meant that many legitimate ticket-holders failed to gain entry to the game, for which the ICC apologised after the match. The sport’s world governing body added: “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, BCCI (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.”

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s captain, said: “For the Afghan fans, please buy a ticket and come to the stadium. Don’t repeat again. This is not good.”

It was announced last month that venues in the United Arab Emirates would operate at a maximum capacity of 70% during the T20 World Cup. The UAE is co-hosting the event alongside Oman from October 17 to November 14 after the ICC opted to relocate the tournament from India due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Host venues include Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground. Despite the event having been relocated, the BCCI is still serving as the host of the tournament.

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