Kolkata Derby: Durand Cup's poor ticket sale strategy leaves East Bengal, Mohun Bagan fans frustrated

THE SEASON'S FIRST Kolkata Derby has got fans excited all over the city and beyond, but the Durand Cup organisers are playing big time spoilsports.

The ticket distribution for this long awaited fixture has gone as wrong as it could. While fans in all the venue cities can purchase tickets for the matches online at BookMyShow weeks in advance, tickets for the Kolkata Derby were never made available on the platform.

As the match came closer, frustration among East Bengal & Mohun Bagan fans who wanted to buy tickets grew. Since a number of fans travel from other cities and states for this game, buying tickets in advance is a core part of their travel plans. But they were left with no choice but to cancel their plans, because it emerged that the Durand Committee had no plans to issue tickets online.

East Bengal fans at a Kolkata Derby

Then it was revealed that the clubs were not getting their usual quota of tickets for their members, because the organisers were distributing tickets among other organisations of their choice. A meeting was held between the three parties just days before the game and things went so poorly that the representatives of East Bengal walked out midway.

Finally, it was revealed that distribution of tickets would begin just two days before the match. There would be no online option; just physical tickets bought from counters. And the total number of tickets available for fans would be just 30,000; about half of what they usually get.

This caused a huge ticket crisis as fans rushed to the sales venues, forming massive lines. And the ticket sale process was so slow, that many gave up after hours of waiting in queue. This kind of breakdown in the whole process inevitably gave rise to a black market where tickets were being sold for 5-6 times the original price.

Mohun Bagan fans at a Kolkata Derby

The Kolkata Derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is the most popular match in Indian football, regardless of which tournament it takes place in. The Durand Committee knew it advance what kind of demand they would have for tickets to this match. Yet by incompetence and constant delays they created a situation where getting a ticket became a struggle for fans, instead of an occasion to celebrate as it usually is.

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