Ukrainian official agrees to sell Olympic tickets

Updated: 

David Beckham at torch ceremonyim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A BBC sting operation has revealed one Ukranian Olympic official apparently willing to sell games tickets to a tout.

So what was he up to, what the risks of buying and selling tickets through unofficial channels, and is it too late to get yours?

The official

The BBC investigation revealed that Volodymyr Gerashchenko, of Ukraine's National Olympic Committee (NOC) had been willing to sell tickets on the black market.

He was set up by a BBC reporter posing as a tout, who reported that Gerashchenko explained that he was in the process of selling tickets to Ukrainian fans, and that once this was complete he would be happy to sell up to 100 tickets to the dealer.

However, later Gerashchenko explained that he never had any intention of selling the tickets and this was just "diplomatic talk to satisfy the persistent interest of the ticket dealer". He added that there was enough demand in Ukraine to ensure there wold be no tickets left over.

Risks

The specifics of this case are under investigation, but it reveals the perils of trying to buy or sell Olympic tickets in any way other than through official channels.

If you have extra tickets you are trying to sell on, you would be breaking the law in selling them to a tout and can face a fine of up to £20,000. There is a real risk of being caught too, as the Olympic organisers have teamed up with Locog and the Met police to run Operation Podium to catch touts and those using them.

Official options

If you are looking to buy tickets, it's not too late. The official website started selling tickets to the general public at 11am today, and despite the usual early surge, there are plenty of tickets left for some events - and the site is functioning with relative ease now.

There are also more tickets being release on 29 May for the cycling viewing areas around the country and the chance to watch the big screen in the Wimbledon grounds.

If you are looking to sell tickets, there is an official resale scheme which will get off the ground shortly (with any luck), and as long as someone else wants your tickets you will get your money back.

The organisers did try to launch this a while back, but technical problems meant it ground to a halt - because of too much demand and not enough supply. They hope that after this last batch of tickets is sold the balance will be restored and the technical difficulties sorted.

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