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 149.

    I'm another who is not the least bit surprised at this. The entire Olympic thing is a dream turned into a nightmare. Here is one person who has no interest in it. With the petty regulations being imposed such as people in Portland not being able to go to the coast in case they get a free glimpse of the sailing, and streets closed in London. Bah! Humbug!

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    @39 - I couldn't have put it better if I'd tried!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    The Olympics has become WAY too commercialised, it seems it is no longer about sport, but about protecting the brand names of certain sponsors, and fleecing the public of as much money as possible.

    We'll be seeing rules that spectators are not allowed to wear certain T-shirts, badges, clothing etc. What happened to the desire to promote sport? What a shame!

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Missiles in people’s gardens, extra security at Heathrow and on the underground, threats of bus driver strike, war ships on the Themes, extra foreign armed forces drafted in, drones patrolling the skies, etc. etc... do people still really believe the hype surrounding the Olympic ticket sales? I would personally run away if you tried to give me any!

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Why should any tickets go to VIP's and dignitaries anyway? Olympic spirit should mean true fans have a first come first served chance of seeing the games - hey go mad and make the tickets free of charge to cut out any chance of corruption and ticket agencies making money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Disgusting, not like this Country where such things are unknown, fa Cup final tickets and Wimbledon centre court tickets are scrupulously designated and never abused, so British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    Metropolitan police,tory peers,LOCOG,Corruption,leveson,murdoch,NHS,Pasties,im confused

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    This might be an odd thing to say, but in the context of showing up corruption I think the Olympics has quite a power to shame, which is a positive thing. The UK's corruption is relatively low in comparison to other countries and this investigation is going to unveil a lot of people who won't be able to hide. Corruption depends on people not being exposed and this should result in some changes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Perhaps because it is being held here and we see all the build up warts and all rather than coming in when the games start or perhaps this is the norm, but the whole thing is seeming a bit grubby.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    The Olympic organisers were quick enough to over police their 2012 logos and name in case some little guy made a few pounds at the expense of some greedy big name brand...just a shame they cant police themselves as tightly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    To think Tessa Jowell has been made a dame too. The tickets are expensive anyway as many MPs are going & staying in hotels us paid for by us I strongly suspect. There has been upsets with the athletes and the whole olympics has been a farce from the start. As tickets have been put up for sale some at a time I expect they have been returned from corporate businesses who have all they want.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    honestly, does this suprise anyone? they were appointed by conservatives i suppose?

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    Oh deary me we cant have that can we? who does this bunch of chancers think they are, criminally ripping people off by selling things they dont really own and making huge profits to the detriment of others.

    we have a perfectly good banking system for that sort of thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    How many of these will visit the UK as part of the IOC?
    If so as ticking touting is a breach of UK law will the police be investigating or questioning these people?
    Let me guess, there will be an inquiry by the IOC and this be an administration error or an oversight, very sorry won't happen again.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    ... what happens to the facilities afterwards?
    It’ll be a while before we get a better idea of the costs to the tax payer & how much – if any – that will be refunded.

    Facilities - neglected and decrepit, as after every Olympics

    Costs - will continue to rise

    Refund - as much chance as there is of seeing Lord Crow without that smug attitude on TV

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Who is surprised at this? These Olympics are all about money. LOCOG has set the bar and it should come as a shock to no one that those who see an opportunity to make some money will do so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    In the opening ceremony I am going to be the wino sat in the corner out of his head on ironbrew.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    I have an idea; let’s cancel these games until this corruption investigation is complete!
    This investigation will disappear without trace. The IOC just wants us to believe they are doing something while they get on with business as usual. Just a cover up and no surprise there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Corruption in the Olympics?


  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    I pay a TV licence fee but I am not allowed to comment on the Scottish
    News site. England, Wales and. NI sites are open for comment but up
    here in Scotland - since the last Scottish Election - that facility has been taken away and is no longer allowed.
    Can I swap my licence fee for a bootleg olympic ticket ?
    At least then I would get better value for my money.


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