Ashes tickets on sale, not for English fans

Published: Thursday, May 11, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Coveted Ashes tickets will be on sale for the final Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground next January, but English fans will be blocked from purchasing them, reports said.

Cricket NSW (New South Wales) is selling 1,250 seats in the top deck of the SCG's Bradman Stand behind the wicket for all international and domestic cricket matches over four years for about 6,000 dollars (4,620 US) each.

But in case English fans were considering using the "power of the pound" to secure tickets for next southern summer's Ashes series -- even if that meant leaving their reserved seats empty for the other seasons -- the new memberships are initially available only to Australian residents, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Apart from guaranteed seating at all cricket matches at the SCG, new ground members will also have bar, business centre and reception facilities at their disposal in the renovated section of the Bradman Stand.

News of the "Australia only" policy will no doubt irk English fans, who have already complained about the lack of tickets available to them for the keenly-awaited five-Test Ashes series, getting underway in November.

Many English supporters have attempted to join the Western Australia Cricket Association in a bid to secure tickets for the series, only to be denied.

Cricket Australia last February announced a staggered system for the release of tickets to the Ashes series, with Australian fans getting an almost three-week jump on England's Barmy Army supporters.

Tickets for the Ashes Tests, one-day series and Twenty20 game will be available to Australians who register online with Cricket Australia from June 1 but will go on sale to the general public and internationally on June 19.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said it was important that Australian fans had the opportunity to get tickets.

"This is going to be the biggest summer of cricket that we've ever seen and we want to make sure that Australian cricket fans are there and take up the majority of the crowd," Sutherland said earlier this year.

"At the same time we're wanting to welcome as many English fans as possible to Australia. There has been an amount of tickets set aside for tour operators for the English coming out as part of a tour group."

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