Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials declared Monday that United Commercial Bank (UCB) braches would not be selling tickets for the Sylhet leg of the 5th edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) just days before the tournament begins on November 4, leaving thousands gathered at different branches of the bank in Sylhet empty-handed.
In a press release on Saturday, the BCB had declared that sales of tickets would start on Tuesday at some booths in Sylhet and through some online portals via UCB, but at the very last moment it was announced that tickets would instead be sold at four additional booths at the Sylhet District Stadium.
After receiving this information thousands of people began gathering at the Sylhet District Stadium from Monday and the queue was more than a kilometre long by the morning.
Aminul Haque Chowdhury, regional head of UCB, said that the bank was supposed to sell tickets but the bank headquarters changed the decision and cancelled selling BPL tickets at the last moment.
BCB sources said that the bank was planning to promote its mobile banking system but as there are very little users of UCash in Sylhet, Music Super Star, who won the ticket selling rights from the BCB, decided they themselves would handle ticket selling in booths.
BPL governing council member secretary IH Mallick told The Daily Star yesterday: "We sell 80 per cent of our tickets through booths while only 20 per cent are sold online and through banks."
Supriyo Deb, one of the many who had lined up at the Sylhet District Stadium said: "I was passing by the stadium last night [Monday night] and saw many people already gathering for tickets. So, I stopped and stood in line thinking that I may not get one later."
There are 18,000 seats in Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, the venue for the first leg matches, and BCB franchises will sell enough for a sell-out crowd, Farhad Qureshi, BPL's Sylhet venue manager, said.
BCB director Shafiul Alam Nadel told The Daily Star that Sylhet had very passionate sports fans and that they would try to satiate the people's needs accordingly, with the BCB selling 15,000 tickets in the booths.
"We are overwhelmed that thousands of people have gathered in the booths for tickets and we had to restrain the ticket franchises from selling more than one ticket to a single person," he said.
The Sylhet International Cricket Stadium will mark its debut as a BPL venue with the introduction of local franchise Sylhet Sixers who take on the defending champions Dhaka Dynamites in the opening match.