London: Angry and disillusioned by the `spot-fixing` allegations against Pakistani cricketers, upset fans here are demanding ticket refunds while sponsors are having second thoughts about their investment in the sport.
Fans are demanding ticket refunds in the wake of allegations of `spot-fixing` against Pakistani players and the worst affected is Yorkshire where an England-Pakistan ODI match is being scheduled at Headingley on September 12.
"Reaction has been particularly marked in Yorkshire where large numbers of ticket holders have demanded a refund. According to club officials the callers said they were furious about the betting allegations which has now turned into a drama involving at least four investigations, three of them criminal," a newspaper report said.
"Other grounds staging games in the five-match series have also been affected by the scandal. It could also undermine ticket sales for the two Twenty20 Internationals in Cardiff. Neither of those games at 16,000-capacity Swalec Stadium are anywhere near to a sellout, with only 6,000 tickets sold for the second match on September 7. It seemed highly unlikely that there would be a last surge of interest in the fixture," it said.
Headingley will stage the second ODI and it was already guaranteed to be a sellout of about 17,000 before a tabloid sting operation report broke out.
Yorkshire county`s chief executive Stewart Regan said many fans will be watching the match reluctantly, having tried unsuccessfully to cancel their bookings in the wake of the `spot-fixing` allegations.
"The phones in the club office haven`t stopped ringing from people wanting to vent their fury and ask whether they can get refunds on the one-day international," Regan said.
"From the club`s point of view, we can`t give refunds simply because people have got a personal opinion about what`s gone on, no matter how much we might agree with them. The club has sold tickets in good faith and, just as we understand the spectators` position, they appear to understand ours."
Officials at Surrey and Glamorgan confirmed that they had also taken smaller numbers of calls from ticket holders who were either angry or confused following last weekend`s revelations.
Meanwhile, sponsorship specialists have also warned that the scandal could have a direct impact on revenues if not properly dealt with by the ICC.
"Will this affect Pepsi in Pakistan? Probably not. But the impact will be felt at their corporate headquarters in the US," said Rupert Pratt, managing director of Generate Sponsorship.
"Likewise with nPower. It doesn`t look very good for your chief executive to be making a presentation that is tainted and portrays values that are the absolute opposite of those you are trying to project as a sponsor."
He said cricket sponsors had already cancelled all their national newspaper advertising because of the negative impact of the story and that the implications would snowball if the authorities were not seen to deal effectively with the problem.
"Five years ago, cricket used to be seen as traditional, safe sponsorship. Now it is a hot potato, it`s a potentially risky investment. The main impact will be felt in two or three years` time if this isn`t stamped out."