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Testing times for SACA members amid confusion over Oval access

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The South Australian Cricket Association says it’s “pretty confident” its members won’t miss out on attending next month’s Adelaide Oval Test, despite flagging a “balloting process” to determine access.

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SACA members, who have paid more than $300 to retain their membership, remain in the dark about their access rights to an already curtailed summer of cricket, with Adelaide hosting the Test series opener – the first day-night Test between Australia and India – from December 17.

An email sent to members this week thanked them for their patience “as we work through match day access and balloting processes”.

In an accompanying video, SACA boss Keith Bradshaw said “hosting cricket has taken on a whole new meaning”.

“We appreciate this year will be like no other,” he said, noting a “credit scheme” had been introduced “should there be significant loss of cricket content”.

“We understand the disappointment of members that transferable associate cards are unlikely to be issued this summer… this difficult decision was made to ensure all SACA members receive priority access,” he said.

He also noted SACA was working with Ticketek “to implement a fair access ballot system if required, should capacity constraints continue”.

Access to the Test is set to be determined by Cricket Australia, which is likely to seek to maximise its returns by public ticket sales.

However, at the moment Adelaide Oval’s COVID-curtailed capacity remains 25,000 – with SACA president Andrew Sinclair telling ABC Radio Adelaide this morning up to 21,000 members could seek to attend.

“We’re negotiating with Cricket Australia as to how much of the ground will be made available to SACA members,” he said.

“Every member who rolls up to the Test match this year will need a ticketed seat [but] we expect at the moment that every member who wants to go to day one will get to day one.”

However, he added: “If you don’t get to day one we’re looking at a priority system that you’ll get to day two.”

“We’re pretty confident so far that we’ll get all the members who want to go to go,” he said.

SACA memberships are traditionally general admission, with many attendees spending much of the day socialising in the ‘village green’ behind the western grandstand.

However, Sinclair said that too was subject to negotiations with SA Health as to “what they’ll permit”.

“Given everyone has to have a seat how do we also move them to an area that could be theirs because you can’t sit in the one seat for the whole day of a Test match without needing to get up for some food and drink and relieve themselves, so we’re working through all that,” Sinclair said.

“We’ve got six weeks to work through with SA Health to achieve something.”

The Stadium Management Authority said in a statement Adelaide Oval management “will continue to work closely with SA Health, SAPOL and other relevant agencies to maximise the possible attendance for the Test match”.

“At the moment, that capacity stands at 50 per cent, and how that capacity is distributed is up to the promotor, in this case Cricket Australia and SACA,” it said.

SACA member of 20 years Stephen Halliday told InDaily that if a limit on access is imposed “in these unusual times… I’d like to see access opened up for all SACA members first”.

“We’ve paid our dues this year – albeit slightly reduced – but we’ll not be getting any more than the Test… we won’t be getting T20, we won’t be getting ODIs [so] it’s beholden on SACA and CA to make sure that members can get access first,” he said.

“We understand they’re going to have to have set seats and go through some ticketing process [but] I’d think all members have a right to be prioritised.

“It’s up to SACA to answer these questions as soon as possible… I think it’s just about ensuring that the members who have paid upfront over $300 for their season of cricket should get the right to attend.”

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