The Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (SINGSOC) has apologised for the confusion that led to many spectators being locked out of the 28th SEA Games closing ceremony at the National Stadium on Tuesday.
While SINGSOC acknowledged it could have done better in managing the situation, it rejected suggestions that tickets to the closing ceremony were oversold.
In a statement on the SEA Games Facebook page yesterday, SINGSOC said it had invited groups of Team Nila volunteers and voluntary welfare organisations to the event based on the turnout from the opening ceremony on June 5, where about 30 percent of ticket holders did not turn up.
SINGSOC added: “After accounting for these complimentary tickets, we would like to confirm that there were still sufficient seats in the stadium for all those who came for the event (closing ceremony).”
“There are some very clear lessons to be drawn from this experience that did not surface during the opening ceremony, like how to have better informed everyone on arrival timings, and how to better manage the rapid build-up of crowds and the ushering at entry gates,” SINGSOC said. “We acknowledge that we should have done a lot better.”
While it is unclear exactly how many spectators, most of whom had purchased tickets — which cost up to S$40 each — were locked out of the closing ceremony, it is believed to be in the hundreds.
They were prevented from entering the stadium as many of those already inside had waited around the inner concourse area after they failed to locate their seats due to the stadium lights having gone dark for the ceremony.
But safety concerns meant the gates had to be closed to prevent the congestion from worsening if more were allowed in. That led to tempers boiling over, with some shouting at the volunteers for being unable to help the situation.
SINGSOC also said they could have accommodated those at the stadium if there was more time to seat them, but a surge over a short period just before the ceremony started eventually led to the situation.
The organisers also clarified that the last segment of the show, which saw Dutch DJ Ferry Corsten playing his set from a console suspended from the National Stadium’s retractable roof as spectators entered the field below, was pre-planned and co-ordinated with stadium operators, crowd safety and security personnel.
SINGSOC also stressed that the safety limit on the number of people on the pitch was not breached.
Those affected can contact SINGSOC at https://feedback.sportsingapore.gov.sg/new_feedback.aspx or 1800 344 1177 during office hours from 9am to 6pm on Mondays to Fridays to process the refunds and follow up with service recovery.