Olympic seats: Sport Wales boss ejected despite places

Empty seats Empty seats have been seen at the Equestrian Venue, Greenwich Park, among others

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The chief executive of Sport Wales has said he was asked to leave the aquatics centre because his ticket did not give him access despite spaces as the row over the issue deepens.

Huw Jones said his pass gave him restricted accreditation but he was not aware he could not go to some events.

His comments come as organisers Locog said they will issue more tickets after concern over the number of empty seats seen at some venues.

An extra 3,000 were sold on Monday.

Start Quote

Geraint Thomas

I think it's quite sad to be honest to see all the empty seats in the swimming and gymnastics”

End Quote Geraint Thomas Olympic cyclist

The organisers said the tickets had been returned by sports federations, with about 1,000 for the gymnastics competitions.

Disappointing situation

Locog say they are taking the issue of empty seats very seriously and will release tickets for sale "probably the night before, for events due to take place the following day".

Prime Minister David Cameron said the empty seats were disappointing but not "a unique episode", with other previous Games facing similar problems.

Mr Jones, chief executive of the body which is responsible for developing and promoting sport in Wales, said it was a disappointing situation regarding empty seating but gave credit to Locog for trying to respond quickly.

His comments came after London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe insisted empty seats would not be an issue throughout the Games but added that he totally understood people's frustrations and was working hard to ensure the seats were filled.

Mr Jones said: "My experience hasn't been good in this.

'Sort out'

"There was an individual from Norway who had the same experiences," he said.

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Olympics images

"I think there are lots of issues that Locog have really got to sort out."

Locog said it would fill some empty seats with servicemen and women, as well as local students and teachers and will be working with sports on a session by session basis to try to release more tickets.

Communications director Jackie Brock-Doyle said: "We're doing this session by session, talking to the accredited groups - including obviously broadcast media and everybody else - and asking whether we can release, for the different sessions, tickets back into the public pot."

She said accredited seating for London 2012 was down 15% on previous Games.

Shadow policing minister, David Hanson, the Labour MP for Delyn in Flintshire, said the police, in particular, deserved a chance to see the games and should be offered tickets as well as soldiers, teachers and school children.

"I want to see the tickets used and I want a full complement of people at events," he said.

Mr Hanson said he and his colleague Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, had written to Lord Coe, the chairman of Locog, asking him to get tickets out for sale and to give free tickets to armed forces.

"We've also made the suggestion that many police officers who have taken their leave, cancelled that leave and come to London, we should try to make an offer to their families as well."

Meanwhile, Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas has said it has been disappointing to see so many empty seats at Olympics venues.

The Team GB member said: "I think it's quite sad to be honest to see all the empty seats in the swimming and gymnastics.

"I struggled to get tickets, managed to get them in the third round."

He said: "I'm not sure of the reasons why. There are plenty of people out there who want to be watching."

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