LOCOG rapped over 'ticket secrecy'

Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

A new report from the London Assembly warns the London Olympics organisers, LOCOG,that their 'unnecessary secrecy' over ticket sales risk damaging public trust.

'Sold Out?' is the result of a two-year-long campaign by the Assembly's Economy, Culture and Sport (ECS) Committee to get answers from LOCOG about the ticketing process for the Games.

The report specifically highlights LOCOG's refusal to provide a detailed breakdown of how many tickets have been sold at what price for each event.

LOCOG has previously indicated that around 28 per cent of the 8.8 million tickets would cost £20 or less, but refused to provide information to prove whether cheaper tickets were spread equally across all events, or concentrated in events like football, where supply exceeds demand.
The report argues that LOCOG has been able to withhold information about ticket sales because its status as a private company makes it exempt from Freedom of Information requests.

"It is impossible to judge whether LOCOG is continuing to make the right decisions because of the secrecy that surrounds the ticketing process," said the committee.

The committee has now written to the Olympic Board - whose members include London Mayor Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and the chair of LOCOG, Lord Coe - demanding the release of the information by 27 February, prior to a meeting in March.

Dee Doocey AM, Chair of the ECS Committee said: "It is completely unacceptable that an organisation that only exists because of a huge investment of public money can hide behind its status as a private company to avoid questions it does not like.
"For most people, the Games will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it's vital they have confidence in the ticketing process, particularly those who have missed out on tickets. LOCOG is putting public confidence at risk by refusing to provide a complete breakdown of how many tickets were available for each event.
"We always knew that ticket allocation would be difficult and would disappoint some people. But if LOCOG had been open and transparent right from the start, a lot of public suspicion and anger could have been avoided."

The report is the latest criticism of LOCOG's handling of ticket sales. Millions of fans were left disappointed when tickets first went on sale, and the booking process was plagued by technical glitches.

Last month's resale of unwanted tickets also suffered technical difficulties, and LOCOG received another blow when it emerged that it had oversold synchronised swimming tickets by 10,000.

And, although it was widely thought that tickets to all the Olympic events were sold out, LOCOG was forced to admit that only a third of tickets to the football matches at venues around the UK had been sold.

The ECS committee also wants LOCOG to publish details of the total number of tickets bought by official sponsors for each event. It is currently known that 700,000 tickets have been made available to sponsors.
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