London 2012: Unsold Hampden ticket problem for Olympics

With exactly a month to go until the Olympic football kicks off at Hampden, BBC Scotland has learned that two thirds of the tickets are still unsold

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Two-thirds of tickets for Olympic football matches at Hampden Park are still unsold, BBC Scotland has learned.

More than 170,000 tickets remain available for the eight Glasgow games.

London 2012 organisers are urgently considering further giveaways on top of the 30,000 that have already been handed to schools and sports clubs.

But Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "I believe Hampden Stadium will be full for the London Olympics football games."

Start Quote

I'm going to be joining the Hampden roar”

End Quote Gordon Matheson Glasgow City Council leader

In exactly one month - on 25 July - the women's defending Olympic champions, United States, will step into Scotland's national football stadium to face France.

The men's European Under-21 champions, Spain, follow them a little over 24 hours later against Japan, during five days of Olympic football in Glasgow.

But Hampden could be more than half empty, with the public being muted in its enthusiasm for the 250,000 available tickets at Hampden.

Organisers had hoped for a significant surge in sales after the Olympic flame's hugely popular tour of Scotland.

That has so far failed to materialise and London 2012 organisers are now having to re-examine their strategy.

Mr Matheson remains optimistic the stadium will fill up in time for Britain's major sporting event of the year.

Glasgow has Olympic flags on display ahead of the London 2012 games Glasgow has Olympic flags on display ahead of the London 2012 games

"I'm going to be part of that audience," the council leader told BBC Scotland.

"I'm going to be joining the Hampden roar and there will be tens of thousands of fellow Glaswegians and Scots who will be alongside me there too."

The Olympic football event had already become a controversial topic in Scotland.

Along with its Northern Irish and Welsh counterparts, the Scottish Football Association decided against taking part in the formation of a unified British team to play in the London event.

The three Celtic nations feared it could lead to them losing their independence in other football competitions.

The SFA is also discouraging Scottish players from accepting invitations to the men's and women's Team GB squads, while admitting that it has no legal grounds to prevent anyone taking part.

Hampden is hosting football matches along with the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Manchester's Old Trafford Stadium, City of Coventry Stadium, Newcastle's St James' Park and Wembley Stadium in London.

The Glasgow venue was not chosen for group games involving Team GB, the squads for which have yet to be finalised by English coaches Stuart Pearce and Hope Powell.

Hampden will host three men's group games, four women's group matches, plus one women's quarter-final, with both finals being held at Wembley.

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