IOC set to investigate London 2012 ticket fraud

Updated: June 19, 2012

The IOC are investigating allegations that Olympic agents and officials were prepared to sell London 2012 tickets on the black market.

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It is alleged that 27 officials and agents representing 54 countries were prepared to breach regulations on ticket sales for the games which begin on 27 July. Denis Oswald, an IOC executive board member and former Olympic rower suspects that there have been similar cases in previous Olympic Games. What sets the current case apart is the scale of the current allegations, thousands of tickets may have been sold on the black market by officials and agents.

Mr Oswald, who participated in the IOC emergency meeting on Friday by conference call said, “We will ask for the documents and the tapes, whatever is existing from the Sunday Times. If this is confirmed then sanctions must be taken.”

Over one million tickets have been distributed overseas among all nations taking part in London 2012 but the IOC has strict rules to combat touts. Tickets must be sold within the country to which they were allocated with individual National Olympic Committees (NOCs) responsible for ensuring that this happens.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell who is a member of the Olympic Board that helps to oversee London 2012 responded to allegations at the weekend insisting that any tickets known to have been sold at more than face value should be banned.

“Offending countries should not be awarded tickets in future Games,” he added.

Mr Oswald did not believe that it would be enough and went further saying, “For me (banning them from distributing tickets in the future) would not be enough. These people should no longer belong to the Olympic movement. People were aware they were breaking the rules.”

“It is why it is very serious, especially people in situations where they have responsibilities for their own national sport and are prepared to break the rules.

“There are probably differences between the different cases and you cannot treat everybody the same. But, depending on the result of the inquiry, there could be a sanction that people are no longer accepted in the Olympic movement and therefore they should have no link with sport in their own country.”

His sentiments were echoed by Sebastien Coe who was speaking at the opening of the Prestige Pavilion on the Olympic Park in London. He believed that anyone found guilty of involvement in the allegations over black market sales of tickets for London 2012 does not deserve to remain in the Olympic Movement.

He said, “I think it would be very difficult to sustain an argument that they would be a place in the Olympic Movement for them,” adding that he was, “depressed, given the number of warnings we have given.”

“I think ‘dismayed’ would be too soft a response and ‘philosophical’ would certainly be too soft a response,” he said.

“Apart from being depressed about the allegations that have been made I am mildly surprised that someone was willing to take a punt on this given how many safeguards we have out there.”

Despite the untimely allegations, Coe insisted he did not wish that the allocation of tickets to foreign nations had been more conservative.

The allegations from The Sunday Times follow the resignation last month of a senior Ukrainian official who was filmed by the BBC offering tickets for cash. A dossier of evidence detailing the claims has been submitted by The Sunday Times for the IOC to consider. The paper claims that reporters from the newspaper found the corruption after posing as Middle Eastern tickets touts during a two-month investigation.

The IOC has said that it moved quickly “to deal with allegations that some NOCs and Authorised Ticket Resellers have broken rules relating to the sale of Olympic tickets”.

“Should any irregularities be proven, the organisation will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner,” it added.

Locog, the London 2012 organising committee has said that none of the tickets in question came from the allocation to the British public.

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