London 2012: Coe says babies' tickets rule was anomaly

Baby asleep Parents must have a separate ticket for their baby for all Olympic events

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Mums have called for London 2012 chairman Seb Coe to "go the extra mile" to ensure that this summer's Olympic Games are truly family friendly.

A row erupted after organisers Locog said every baby would need a ticket, even if they did not need a seat.

The rule infuriated some parents who bought tickets before their babies were even conceived.

Lord Coe said the rule was "an anomaly" where parents were being told their babies will be refused entry to events.

"Lord Coe's comments are very encouraging," Tara McBride, spokesperson for the MadeForMums parenting website, said.

"Now he's admitted it is an anomaly, surely London 2012 will sort it out. It's the only way that they will be able to brand the Games truly family friendly.

"I just hope that Lord Coe will go the extra mile to ensure that babies on laps will be allowed in for free, or at most, a token donation.

"To force families to pay out for a full-price ticket 'somewhere else in the stadium' which won't be used, makes no sense at all.

"But we're really pleased that it looks likely that new mums, and their babies, will be able to attend the Games after all."

Lord Coe told ITV1's Daybreak on Friday that the rule was an anomaly and he accepted that.

"We will look at that. We recognise that we want to be a family friendly organisation," he said.

Lord Coe stressed that Locog had devised a way to help adults take their children to events.

London 2012 - One extraordinary year

London 2012 One extraordinary year graphic

"We had a scheme for families called Pay Your Age, which allowed you to take a child and pay the age of the child, so if you had a seven-year-old child you'd pay £7.

"We've been on that page for a long time but there are people that have bought tickets that have subsequently had babies."

Under 2012 rules, expectant parents were told they could try to buy an extra ticket for their chosen event, although there were concerns that none will be available for popular events.

Locog has said it would reconsider the issue in April when more tickets go on sale.

Tessa Jowell, the shadow Olympics minister told BBC Radio 4's The World at One, "wherever conceivably possible, little babies will go to the Games with their mums".

Age policy

The National Indoor Arena (NIA) in Birmingham, which hosts a range of international sporting events, does not have a strict age policy in place.

"However, we say that generally before a child is walking, we are happy for them to be admitted without a ticket," a spokesman said.

At Lord's cricket matches, babies and toddlers under three go in for free. Wimbledon does not recommend babies are taken. Children under five are allowed in without a ticket - but may not enter Centre Court or the other show courts.

At Wembley Stadium, restrictions vary on an event-by-event basis. For those events which do allow children under 16, all spectators must have a ticket.

At Twickenham Stadium, children under two do not require a ticket but must be securely strapped to an adult sitting in the lower tier.

In April additional Olympic tickets will go on sale offering parents the chance to buy tickets so they can take their children, but Locog cannot guarantee availability.

For selected events Pay your Age tickets may be available where children aged one and under would be charged £1.

To add a Pay your Age ticket to an existing account, parents would have to phone the ticketing team when they go on sale. They will not be able to buy those tickets online.

For the Paralympic Games, tickets are on sale now and where available, they will be at the special price of £5.

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