England tour of India - News - Cricket: Tax worries grip England Test organisers
Published: Friday, November 9, 2001, 22:28 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Eng tour opener was always at Wankhede
New Delhi: The first cricket Test between India and England next month could be played in an empty stadium if a government-levied tax is not cancelled, organisers said on Friday.The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), which hosts the match at Mohali from December 3 to 7, was caught unawares when the state government slapped a 125 per cent entertainment tax on every ticket sold."If the government goes ahead with its demand to levy tax, the match would have to be held behind closed gates without getting the tickets printed," PCA president Inderjit Singh Bindra said.Bindra said the notice was issued by the state's Excise and Taxation Department despite assurances by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that no entertainment tax would be levied on sporting events.Tax officials, however, maintained that sports events were not exempt from paying tax.It was not clear if organisers of the second Test in Ahemdabad and the third in Bangalore were slapped with similar tax notices by their respective state governments.Cricket officials said the notice could be a pretext to garner more complimentary tickets for the match."We face this problem every time," a veteran Test match organiser said."A Municipal official once turned off the water supply in the players' dressing room because we did not give a ticket to his brother-in-law."Ministers, bureaucrats, police they all want to get in free and take their families and friends along," the official said.Punjab police officials claim the PCA owes them Rupees 8.6 million for providing security during a One-day International against Pakistan in 1999.PCA officials refuted the charge, saying it was the duty of the police - not a favour - to make security arrangements during matches.Meanwhile, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is seeking tax exemption for the International Cricket Council's knock-out tournament scheduled to be held in the country next year.