Glamorgan chief executive Hugh Morris has defended Cardiff as a venue for the ICC Champions Trophy.
The ground holds just over 14,000 fans but only 10,800 tickets were sold for Monday’s game that saw Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to book a semi-final spot.
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan said on BBC Radio 5 live: “Why is it really only in Cardiff that we’ve had big open spaces [of empty seating]?”
But Morris said they have sold out two of the four games Cardiff is hosting.
That includes England’s 87-run thrashing of New Zealand in their second pool game, plus Wednesday’s semi-final between England and Pakistan.
“Over the last four years we have sold 98% of our tickets for international matches and we’re proud of that fact,” said Morris, also speaking on 5 live.
Vaughan added: “When I look at the visual of empty seats around a ground I think it’s terrible for the game. Bangladesh v New Zealand there is only a crowd of 4,000, 5,000 at the end because there is a run chase.
“When you look at a venue that only has 14,000 seats to fill, it’s a worry for cricket that you can’t fill that to watch a major tournament. I want to know why.
“I believe there were only 300 tickets left [for the England and New Zealand match] and 4,000 people didn’t turn up. That worries me.
“Why would you pay £30 or £40 a ticket and not turn up?
“If the event is being viewed globally it needs full stadiums.
“What I can’t get my head around is Cardiff seems to be the only venue where people are not turning up when they have bought tickets.
“You look at the crowds at Edgbaston and the Oval. There have been record crowds at Edgbaston.
“What I will say about Cardiff is it’s the best wicket because it provides the best contest between bat and ball.
“The pitch has been spectacular because it has created two of the best games.”
Morris pointed to the fact that Cardiff has established itself as a popular venue for international cricket.
“The first game that we hosted in the tournament was England and New Zealand. Our capacity was just over 14,000 and there were 13,900 tickets sold and a couple of hundred available at the end after being sent back at a late stage.
“We had ostensibly sold that game out. In reality there were about 10,000 people in the ground and we need to find out why those people didn’t turn up.
“The weather wasn’t great. Whether that has had an impact I don’t know.”
Semi-final ticket fear
While the semi-final on Wednesday is sold out, many tickets have been bought in advance by India fans – whose semi-final against Bangladesh will instead be at Edgbaston on Thursday.
The concern is that India fans will simply not turn up, rather than returning the tickets to be resold.
“We have sold out the semi-final between England and Pakistan,” Morris said.
“When we were awarded the match we didn’t know what teams are going to be playing.
“We sold that match out a couple of months ago. A lot of the ticket buyers are Indian, about 38%.
“There is an opportunity for Pakistan and England fans potentially to buy tickets through the ICC website.
“I would urge any Indian fans, while it would be great to see them in Cardiff, if they are not planning to turn up to that game to go to the ICC website and resell their tickets at face value to genuine England and Pakistan fans.”