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Published: Sunday, November 18, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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New Delhi: Fears that the first cricket Test between India and England next month would be played in an empty stadium were set at rest on Saturday after a government-levied tax was cancelled, organisers said. [an error occurred while processing this directive]The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), which hosts the match at Mohali from December 3 to 7, announced the state government had frozen its order to slap a 125 per cent entertainment tax on every ticket sold."It's been sorted out, we don't have to pay the tax," said PCA president Inderjit Singh Bindra, who on Friday had threatened to play the match behind closed doors if the tax was levied. "England can expect a full house for the match," Bindra said. "There's already a lot of interest in the game."Organisers of the second Test in Ahmedabad and the third in Bangalore also said they did not anticipate any tax notices by their respective state governments. Cricket officials had said on Friday the notice to the PCA 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.The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is seeking tax exemption for the International Cricket Council's Knock Out tournament scheduled to be held in the country next year."We may not be able to hold the tournament if the tax is not cancelled," BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said after meeting Sports Minister Uma Bharti on Friday.