The stringent security measures to be followed during the Hero Honda FIH World Cup tournament, beginning here on February 28, have put the organizing committee in an embarrassing situation.

The panel has been told by the police that no one other than VVIPs and the media should be allowed to be seated on the pavilion side during the tournament. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has protested; the organizing committee has also protested. Both bodies are unaware of the VVIP list that the police could be talking of. Hockey India (HI) is also in the dark.

The FIH has in a letter pointed out that it would not budge from its protocols and the organizing committee would have to stick to the pre-arranged allocation of seats on the pavilion side that can accommodate 700 in the 19,000-capacity stadium.

The FIH, according to sources, had even held out a veiled threat that even at this late stage the World Cup could be taken away from India if its protocols were not respected.

A large number of tickets for the VVIP area (Rs 5000) and VIP enclosure (Rs 1000) have either been committed or distributed, but the police want the organizers to either withdraw them or refund the money to the ticket-holders if they have been sold.

Apart from the ‘FIH family’ the VVIP/VIP area will have to accommodate persons from diplomatic missions, invitees of the sponsors (200 tickets) and other VIPs who could be invited by the organizing committee.

General ticket sales are yet to start. The organising committee has held back the sales at city outlets in an effort to clarify the position with regard to pavilion seats with the police.

The police, however, explained on Saturday that whatever had been agreed upon in June this year was being implemented with regard to security arrangements within the stadium.

“We are sticking to our plans as agreed upon long ago”, said a police spokesman.

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