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Games chief blames closing ceremony chaos on fans and VIPs

Pacific Games Closing Ceremony ©Port Moresby 2015LIAM MORGAN | Inside the Games

PACIFIC Games chief executive Peter Stewart has sought to clarify the reasons behind the closing ceremony ticketing row.

The debacle, which left hundreds of spectators outside the Sir John Guise Stadium, was caused by a fans without tickets trying to gain access, as well as more than the anticipated number of VIPs turning up for the event.

Large groups of fans were not allowed in despite having purchased tickets.

The debacle marred a spectacular end to the 14-day event, described by many as setting the standard for future Pacific Games.

Mr Stewart revealed that only 9,000 tickets were sold for the closing ceremony and not the 15,000 reported, claiming it was “always the plan” to locate the stage in the middle of the Stadium, effectively making 5,000 seats unavailable.

“It was a combination of a larger number of VIPs and an expectation from some people that they would be able to buy tickets on the gate,” Mr Stewart said.

“Usually for this type of event large numbers of VIPs don’t take all their tickets but this didn’t happen and we had more of them than we expected.

“Ticketing is a new concept in Papua New Guinea which caused us some challenges but largely we feel it went well.”

Mr Stewart said accreditation and ticketing were the two big challenges as this type of project had never been done before in PNG.

“As with any multi-sport event there were challenges but by and large it was a fantastic success,” he said.

Hosts Papua New Guinea finished top of the medal table for only the second time in their history with a total of 87 golds, comfortably ahead of second-placed New Caledonia.


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