Sri Lankan fans drummed out of Eden Park

Police  remove Sri Lankan fans from the East Stand during the final over of the Twenty20 match. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Police remove Sri Lankan fans from the East Stand during the final over of the Twenty20 match. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Eden Park management have rejected claims of heavy-handedness levelled at its security staff following the ejection of Sri Lankan fans from the ground in yesterday's Twenty20 international.

The furore erupted early in the first innings of the Black Caps impressive nine-wicket win over the tourists yesterday, when Sri Lankan fans were turfed out allegedly because the banged on drums and sounded trumpets.

However Eden Park Trust chief executive Guy Ngata has moved to clarify the actions of the security team.

In a statement released this afternoon Ngata said seven spectators were removed from the stadium "on the basis of alcohol management and misconduct issues and for reasons of safety".

"Eden Park reserves the right to ask patrons to leave if they are consuming alcohol not purchased at the ground or are intoxicated," the statement continued.

One Sri Lankan patron, who remained in the ground but did not wish to be named, said the reaction was unnecessary.

"We just go to enjoy the atmosphere and experience, which means bringing in drums and trumpets to dance and sing. It's like a fiesta.

"For most of the guys forking out $30 [for tickets] is a big deal, so they spend that money thinking they'll get the Sri Lanka-type experience.

"Drums were confiscated outside and security said we couldn't play music in the stadium."
Another, calling himself Dissenayake, had been removed from the ground by the 14th over along with what he estimated were five others. He was upset with the security reaction.

"We had some whisky before we came and had fun watching, but the security people came to take us out.

"They told us we were too drunk to watch and said we brought alcohol in. We had Coke with us but only because we had dry mouths. We drank it without any spirits.

"They took us out because they said there was alcohol in the bottles. They can't prove it. It's so unfair.

"They also said we were too noisy.

"They took away a snare drum from our kit, then collected all our bere [Sri Lankan trumpets]. That's no use, we brought them here to have fun, bro. I'm not going to harm or disturb anyone."

Several spectators took to social media to express their dismay over the treatment of the Sri Lankan fans. TVNZ reporter Nicole Bremner tweeted removing the fans was "unnecessary", while Jamie Wall said the guards' actions were "unbelievable".

But the police said there was more to the story than could be heard on social media.

Senior Sergeant Danny Meade told Radio New Zealand the fans were removed from the grounds because they were intoxicated, were blocking exits by sitting in aisles and stairways, and would not comply with the security guards' requests.

- NZ Herald

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