Saturday 7 April 2007 

World Cup Organisers Invite Fans To Play As They Go

World Cup organisers have bowed to criticism and reversed a policy restricting fans from bringing musical instruments into stadiums.

Previously, supporters needed to seek prior approval from local organising committees to bring in large instruments to grounds.

That policy sparked widespread criticism that it prevented fans from enjoying a true Caribbean atmosphere at the World Cup in which calypso and reggae music provide a backdrop to the cricket.

Starting from Saturday's Super Eights match in Guyana between Bangladesh and South Africa, spectators can turn up with their instruments and be given the approval as they pass through security, an International Cricket Council (ICC) statement said.

"Safety must be paramount at matches but we do want everyone to watch cricket in a festive and lively atmosphere," the World Cup (CWC) chief executive, Chris Dehring said in the statement issued on Friday.

"The world has already seen the spectacle of fans from all over the world dancing and savouring the unique environment in which this event is being held and CWC is just seeking to enhance that even further for the remaining matches."

Musical instruments permitted included conch shells, horns, drums and trumpets, the statement said.

"It's amazing the things that people can creatively make music from and we want to encourage that," added Dehring.

"We just ask that they be mindful of the comfort of other spectators around them and, of course, of the players on the field who need to concentrate on winning matches."

The ninth World Cup, the first to be held in the Caribbean, has suffered from low turnouts with organisers accused of pitching ticket prices too high for ordinary people in the region.

Attendances have also been hit by the surprise first-round elimination of Pakistan and India, two of the best supported countries.

The seven-week tournament will culminate with the April 28 final in Barbados.

By Jon Bramley
© Reuters 2007.