The number of cricket spectators attending the Adelaide Oval to watch the World Cup match between India and Pakistan last Sunday night did not match up to the sold out 48,000 tickets sold in advance. Only 41,587 turned up for the match, as a result of a lengthy delay of a direct Air India flight from New Delhi to Sydney that was to be transporting hundreds of spectators to the match. As Times of India reported, fans eagerly awaiting their journey to watch the match became violent after being informed of the delay that would cause them to miss their connection to Adelaide to see the game.  The hostile behaviour of spectators was so severe that Air India staff were advised to find alternative routes to access aircrafts at Delhi International Airport to avoid the aggressive mob.

Meanwhile in Australia, fans at Merrylands RSL Club in Sydney’s west could not contain themselves while watching the rivalling teams play off on Sunday evening, as The Daily Telegraph reported. Emergency services arrived at the venue around 9.30pm to find the 40-strong crowd throwing chairs, crockery and glasses at each other. Four of the pub-dwelling crowd were treated by ambulance personnel with injuries; police continue to investigate the incident.

Effective crowd management requires careful risk management planning well in advance of any event.  With the immediacy of social media, a crowd safety incident can have far reaching consequences for the image and reputation of the venue, the event and the security company responsible for operational crowd protection.

With the Cricket World Cup well underway and being broadcast to over a billion people worldwide, we hope spectators across the globe cheer loud and proud without ‘taking a stick’ to their opponents.