An INVESTIGATION is under way into claims of widespread corruption among foreign agents and officials supplying tickets to the London Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee is threatening a radical shake-up of the way Olympic tickets are distributed among its member countries after an investigation suggested officials were offering thousands of top tickets on the black market.
London Olympics chief Lord Coe was dragged into the row after a Sunday newspaper secretly filmed Greek national Olympic committee president Spyros Caprolos claiming he had successfully lobbied him for more premium Olympic tickets on Greece’s behalf.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) last night denied the claims. But the revelations have prompted senior politician Sir Menzies Campbell – a member of the Olympic Board which helps oversee London 2012 – to call for offending countries to lose future allocations of tickets.
He said: “The sanctions should be not just that the tickets get cancelled for this Olympic Games but that tickets are not awarded on future occasions.”
Thousands of the best seats at the top events – including the 100m final – were up for sale after being siphoned off from official supplies held by overseas national Olympic committees (NOCs), it was reported.
National Olympic committees are forbidden to sell their tickets abroad or to anyone who plans to resell them.
Undercover reporters, posing as envoys of a Middle Eastern ticket tout, said they found 27 officials and agents who were willing to do business.
According to reports, these included one country’s official ticket agency which offered category AA tickets, the best seats in the stadiums, to the fake tout for up to £6,000 each.
The IOC confirmed they were investigating the allegations and will consider a complete shake-up of how Olympic tickets are distributed among member countries.
An IOC statement read: “The International Olympic Committee has moved quickly to deal with allegations that some National Olympic Committees and Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATR) have broken rules relating to the sale of Olympic tickets.
“After claims that several NOCs and ATRs were reportedly willing to break the rules by offering to buy or sell tickets outside their territory, sell tickets at inflated prices, or sell tickets to unauthorised resellers, the IOC has referred the allegations to its independent ethics commission.”