The Premier Futsal clash between Bengaluru Royals and Mumbai Warriors here on Tuesday was billed and marketed as the clash of the titans – Ryan Giggs versus Paul Scholes. In the end the two Manchester United legends sold everyone a glorious dummy, which can rank among the best they dished out on the pitch during their playing days.
A few hundred fans who had assembled to see their idols in flesh were left bitterly disappointed as the two players who had arrived in the city only on Tuesday morning were understood to be “tired.” The on-field action, which seemed incidental, was of poor quality too, further adding salt to the injury. All that the spectators could do was to repeatedly shout “we want Paul Scholes.” But it ultimately fell on deaf ears.
“I am extremely disappointed,” said Samrat, a receptionist who had travelled all the way from Hyderabad to watch the two. “The tickets I bought were for ₹2,000 a day. I am not wasting anymore of my time here. I didn't come for this. They don't even have the courtesy to announce that the two aren't playing.”
Tickets were priced as high as ₹10,000 and the highest bracket also included a “meet and greet session with the legends.” Only that there was no one to meet or greet, giving the unmistakable feeling that the whole thing was a purely money-making exercise. The only thing going for the event was an overflowing VIP area which saw Kannada film star Puneeth Rajkumar in attendance.
“They could have at least come and interacted with the fans,” said Anshul, a city-based software professional. “I had to leave office early, brave the traffic on a weekday evening and come here and the two aren't even on the bench!”
Curiously, the team sheets which were distributed had both Giggs' and Scholes' names as part of the starting five. However, there was no one at hand to clarify why the two were not to be seen. Repeated calls to Dinesh Raj, Managing Director and co-founder of Premier Futsal, went unanswered.