Olympic ticket investigation over black market claims
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched an investigation on Friday after reports emerged that top tickets were being sold in the black market.
The Sunday Times investigation revealed that thousands of top Olympic tickets were made available in the black market by the agents and Olympic officials selling them at ten times higher their face value.
The black market also offered tickets for the best seats at the top events – including the 100m final – after being siphoned off from the official supplies held by the overseas National Olympics committees (NOCs).
According to the investigation, 27 agents representing 54 countries were involved in the corruption.
The official ticket agent for Serbia offered about 1,500 tickets to events including the opening and closing ceremonies for 80,000 fees in cash whilst promising to falsify information from 1,400 Serbian passports to conceal the illicit deal from the London organisers.
China’s official ticket agency was also involved in the scandal as agents agreed to sell dozens of AA category tickets – the best in the stadium, originally meant for the British public – to fake Middle Eastern tout for up to £6,000 each.
Spyros Capralos, president of Greece’s Olympic committee, had also persuaded Lord Coe, chairman of the London organising committee, to give Greece fresh batch of tickets after he claimed the country’s demand for tickets were higher than expected when in reality the demands were “very low” and only few tickets had been sold.
The IOC promised to impose “the strongest sanctions” on officials caught dealing on the black market, with the countries involved facing possible bans from ever selling tickets again.
The London organising committee (Locog) said that any NOCs or agents found guilty of selling tickets illegally would have their remaining tickets confiscated and redistributed to the world with British public gaining half of them.
The Locog also assured the IOC that none of the tickets involved were from the 6.6m reserved for the British public and pledged their full co-operation.
It said: “Rules and regulations for selling London 2012 tickets to international fans are clear and unambiguous. […] The IOC has launched an investigation in to the allegations and we will support them in any way we can.”