ST JOHN’S, Antigua, March 31 (Reuters) - World Cup organisers have urged Caribbean fans to bring their musical instruments into World Cup stadiums to lure in local support and give the tournament more of a calypso feel.
Matches at the seven-week showpiece event have been contested before half-empty stands.
Passionate West Indies fans have been upset by high prices and the impression that big musical instruments, a traditional feature of Caribbean cricket, had been banned from venues on safety grounds.
The International Cricket Council said on Saturday that this had never been the case — on the contrary they welcomed the musician fans to the grounds to create a carnival atmosphere.
“There is a protocol to allow musical items,” said chief executive Malcolm Speed in a statement. “We want the Caribbean atmosphere to be here.
“We don’t seek to take the West Indian flavour out of it. We want to hear that noise. We want to hear that enthusiasm.”
ICC spokesman Brian Murgatroyd added that anyone with a large musical instrument needed to get clearance beforehand from a local organising committee to bring it in but this had always been the case.
“There is no ban on these instruments and never has been,” he said.
Tournament organisers and the West Indies players’ association have pleaded with fans to support the home team, which is in danger of being knocked out in the Super Eights second stage following two consecutive defeats.
The World Cup culminates in the Barbados final on April 28.