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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April, 2005, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Ticket woe for loyal England fans
By Anna Thompson

Andrew Flintoff
Many England fans will not see Flintoff and Co in the flesh
Cricket officials have acknowledged the frustrations of fans who missed out on tickets for this summer's Ashes series between England and Australia.

Some supporters who have attended Tests for many years were unsuccessful and believe their loyalty has been ignored.

"An Ashes ticket is the hottest in town this summer," an England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman told the BBC.

"We wish all those who applied could get tickets but we had more than 250,000 unsuccessful applications."

The ECB says grounds could have sold out four times over.

Ross Taylor from Plymouth has not missed a Lord's Test match for 20 years and sent in an application form to take part in the ballot for tickets, but he was out of luck.

The Hampshire and England fan said: "I have shown my loyalty to English Test cricket for more than two decades and hoped to be rewarded for that.

"I have been to see India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in the last few years and think it's unfair I cannot see Australia.

"None of my friends have managed to get tickets either, so I would love to find out which people have."

He believes priority application forms should be given out to fans who regularly attend matches.

The individual county clubs who are based at Test venues are responsible for their ticketing policies. Seats cost between 45 and 60.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lord's, was overwhelmed with 100,000 applications for 29,000 seats.

A spokesman said: "I'm afraid it was inevitable lots of people would not succeed because we were so over-subscribed."

We are concerned about people selling tickets on Ebay for vast profits and it is something we will look into
ECB spokesman

Tickets are still available for the Tests if fans are prepared to pay a hiked up price from a ticket agency, which are selling individual seats for the Lord's Test at up to 350 each.

Alternatively, they can bid over the odds on auction website Ebay, where pairs of tickets are going for prices in excess of 400.

ECB media officer Andrew Walpole said: "We are concerned about people selling tickets on Ebay for vast profits and it is something we will look into but we have to work within the current legislation."

They want as many people as possible "to join in the Ashes fun" and are hoping to have big screens erected in a number of cities.

"It's still in the early planning stages at the moment but this is what we are aiming to do," Walpole added.

Fans do still have a chance of going to the fifth day of an Ashes match this year with most grounds, including Lord's, not selling final day tickets in advance.




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