London 2012: IOC begins Olympics tickets investigation

London 2012 tickets Claims have been made that tickets were being sold way above their face value

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The International Olympic Committee has begun an investigation into claims Olympics representatives were willing to sell thousands of tickets for the London Games on the black market.

The IOC's ruling executive board met after fresh claims by the Sunday Times involving more than 50 countries.

Tickets for top events were said to be priced at up to 10 times face value.

A UK member of the board, Sir Craig Reedie, said the IOC would consider improvements to ticket sales systems.

"We will see what improvements we can build in to a more modern system, because it's very important that we protect the integrity of the ticket distribution system for Olympic games," he told the BBC.

The IOC has also referred the allegations to its independent ethics commission.

Former LibDem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, a member of the Olympic Board, called for offending countries to lose future allocations of tickets.

He said it was the responsibility of the IOC to regulate ticket allocations to member countries and was "not at the discretion of the London organisers".

The UK's Olympics organiser, Locog, denied claims its chairman, Lord Coe, was persuaded to hand over extra tickets to an IOC national representative.

The Sunday Times has submitted a dossier of evidence detailing claims that Olympic officials and agents had been caught selling thousands of tickets on the black market for up to 10 times their face value, says BBC Sports News correspondent James Pearce.

The IOC could also review how Olympic tickets are distributed among member countries - more than one million were distributed to those taking part in the Games.

Sir Menzies Campbell, a former Liberal Democrat leader who is on the Olympic Board, - which helps oversee London 2012 - told the BBC it was a "thorough disgrace".

"The sanctions [for offending countries] should be not just that the tickets get cancelled for this Olympic Games but that tickets are not awarded on future occasions," he added.

The Sunday Times alleges, during a two-month investigation in which reporters posed as Middle Eastern ticket touts, it found corruption involving people representing 54 separate countries.

Ticketing policy

Accusations include an allegation a member of the Greek Olympics Committee said he had "persuaded" Lord Coe, chairman of the London organising committee, Locog, to give Greece more tickets on the pretext demand had outstripped supply.

Locog denies the claim.

A spokeswoman said: "With regard to 'boasts' by the Greek Olympic Committee' (HOC) that discussions on tickets took place with Sebastian Coe, we can confirm this is untrue.

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

"Seb received a letter from the HOC (as he did from other NOCs) and responded saying that tickets had been allocated in accordance with the IOC's ticketing policy. There was no further contact - either formal or informal - on this subject."

More than one million London 2012 tickets were distributed abroad among all the nations taking part in the Games, but the IOC has strict rules to try to combat touts.

National Olympic committees must ensure that their allocation is only sold within their own region.

Last month a senior Ukrainian Olympic official resigned after being filmed by the BBC offering tickets for cash.

'Strongest sanctions'

The IOC said in a statement on the latest claims: "The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has moved quickly to deal with allegations that some National Olympic Committees (NOC) and Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATR) have broken rules relating to the sale of Olympic tickets.

"The IOC takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate.

"Should any irregularities be proven, the organisation will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner.

"The NOCs are autonomous organisations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions.

"The IOC has also determined that it will take on board any recommendations coming out of the inquiry to improve the way that tickets are allocated and sold internationally in the future."

London 2012 organising committee Locog said: "Rules and regulations for selling London 2012 tickets to international fans are clear and unambiguous.

"National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and their Authorised Ticket Sellers (ATRs) sign a contract with Locog agreeing to specific terms and conditions.

"The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) has launched an investigation in to the allegations and we will support them in any way we can. None of the tickets in question came from the allocation to the British public.

No tickets intended for the British market were involved, it added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    The Olympics, like many major sporting events are run for the benefit of their respective governing bodies, their corporate sponsors and the media and only affordable by the wealthy who are happy to be ripped off so they can claim to have been there.
    The event is overblown and tacky with the sporting element marginalised. I'll watch a few events on the tv and ignore the pundits and the hype.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    I have difficulty understanding why anybody would want to go to the Olympics, let alone buy tickets, still less pay ten times the face value.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    I am not surprised at all at this behaviour as I have long said that if you have a society who's sole goal is to make money to survive, make money to manipulate, make money to make money, then you must accept the consequences and those revolve around greed, want and need.

    These three negatives will not make a positive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    The only people who seem surprised at this are the members of the IOC.

    I assumed it went on at every Olympic Games (and it probably did!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Yet another example of corruption in a major sporting organisation , let's face it though , it's not just the organisers lacking in ethics

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    The inefficiences and scandals associated with these Games already speak volumes about the unsuitablility of the person put in charge of LOCOG. Sell-outs to large corporate sponsors and otheres have wrecked what little of the real Olympic spirit was left.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Pooo this stinks!
    Give me a competition without celebreties, politicians and TV cameras. then where's the bucket.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    One knows from experience that the Olympics have little to do with celebrating sporting excellence and everything to do with making money. As a perk for putting up with this circus, the citizens of the host country should have an advantage in terms of getting tickets. No chance! The IOC is probably the most successful method of making money through corrupt dealings that has ever been devised.;

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Is this a surprise to anyone? It was obvious from the onset that tickets would be applied for with the intention of selling them on the 'black marker'. Add sponsorship and corporate entertainment to the mix and you have a recipe for opportunism and profiteering. Lord Coe & cronies have made an absolute mess of ticket allocation. It's a debacle without precedence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    No.39, You have part of the reason I moved to Denmark, the other is that Red Ken asked for the Olympics, but he didn't ask me, and then as a Londoner I was expected to pay for his willy extension!! I have no intention of returning now, and I will not be back other than to visit family & friends. This year we are going to the Lake District, so all the corrupt high flyers can milk someone else!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    These are NOT corporate tickets, they are tickets given to National state representatives to the IOC.

    P.S The Corporations should get some free, after all without them there would be no games - NBC alone paid $1.18 BILLION for the TV rights.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    British institutions involved in dubious practises? Impossible!

    We Brits are the epitome of virtue; on the international stage we interfere, we impose our values, we lecture on morals, we castigate other countries whenever possible, we're smug & conceited, we're incorruptible like BAE & the police forces!

    For the naive, nationalistic or idiot reader, I'm being Ironic, so save your protestations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    The title of this link from the main BBC News page should be "Olympic Fraud" not "Olympic Ticket Fraud". The Olympics has been one big money making enterprise paid for by me and every other member of the public who reads this article. What a joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    It would not surprise me if tickets for the Paralympics have also ended up on the black market. LOCOG should be ashamed at the way they have handled the allocation of tickets. What a complete shambles, I just hope the actual Games will be a success but it feels less and less likely with each passing day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    What gets me down is realizing the true widespread immediacy of corruption in Governing bodies as FIFA, UEFA and Locog, Gone have the days were sport inspired thousands now its just have tinted and dirty as the world we live in...
    Thank you very much to the organizers for dragging Olympic Spirit through the dirt...

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    I can think of few matters less important in the grand scheme of things than whether some suckers pay too much for tickets to one of the great commercial ventures falsely pretending to be amateur athletics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Frankly, I'd have been more surprised if there weren't any greedy profiteers ready to make money at the expense of others during any event, not just the Olympics. Cynical? Oh yes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Whoever is responsible for the ticketing process failed the games & the people. Tickets unavailable to the public (who as tax payers fund the games) were sold to commercial institutions now offering them by lottery if their products are purchased/subscrbed to-this has to be wrong. The pride felt when London was awarded the games has been eroded by their becoming a money-making device for the few.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Hands up who's surprised?
    So many people seem to be happy to abuse their position of responsibility to make a fast buck. I assume that many people who make it into positions of political power in any organisation have done so because they think they're special, above the rules and possess qualities such as guile. There're so many narcassitic immorral people in the world around.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Given the history of Olympic ticketing, the organisers of London 2012 had every opportunity to get their ticket arrangements right. As well as this predictable fiasco, they have given wheelbarrow loads of tickets to sponsors - tickets that should have been reserved for ordinary British citizens. Instead, most of us feel frozen out. What a mess - though I doubt that any heads will roll.


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