The Olympics

The Olympics


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Monday, June 18, 2012

Olympics Ticket Touting Bonanza

In June 2010 I wrote the following:
"In a rather amusing development, the IOC has all but accused four (albeit unnamed) countries of touting tickets for the recent Vancouver Winter games.

National Olympic Committees (NOCs) receive a quota of tickets that they can sell to the public in their home country. However, some NOCs have been in the habit of passing the tickets on to touts for profit.

Gilbert Felli, an IOC director, has stated that four countries would be punished (they will receive a reduced ticket allocation for the London games) for the way in which the sales of their Vancouver allocation were handled.
Here we are some two year later in June 2012, and it appears that the International Olympics Committee (IOC) have yet to get their house in order; and that the illegal touting of tickets by Olympics nations, officials and authorised ticket distributors has become more widespread (or at least is now more prominently visible in the public domain).

The Telegraph reports that Olympic officials were selling tickets on the black market for up to 10 times their face value.

It is alleged Greek national Olympic committee President Spyros Caprolos claimed he successfully lobbied Locog chairman Lord Coe to give Greece a fresh batch of premium tickets to the Games on the pretext that demand in the country had outstripped expectations. Locog deny this allegation, which if true would be rather "ironic" given that in July 2011 Lord Coe made an appeal for Olympics grandees to return unwanted tickets so that UK residents could buy them.

Other allegations (that cover 54 countries) include:

- Serbia's official ticket reseller was prepared to sell 1,300 prime tickets for £80,000 to a Middle East buyer, and attempted to circumvent scrutiny from the IOC or Locog by falsifying information from 1,400 Serbian passports;

- China's official ticket reseller, Caissa, had purchased top-level seats to the Opening and Closing ceremonies, diving, gymnastics and athletics from the official UK hospitality reseller Thomas Cook, which it was prepared to sell on at inflated prices of more than £6,000 each;

- Cyprus and Israel’s ticket reseller was offering 525 seats at the best events for £66,000;

- The Lithuanian ticket reseller was willing to sell all of the country’s remaining tickets to a Middle East buyer; and

- An executive from one major ticket reseller in multiple countries, Cartan Tours, advised a prospective buyer to set up a company in one of the 40 territories in which he has the right to sell tickets.

The Telegraph now reports that in the wake of this expose, the IOC is trying to buy time and will approach a major audit/law firm to conduct a review of the failings.

Why didn't the IOC take decisive action to improve its procedures after the Vancouver touting scandal reported in June 2010?

As I have noted many times before, the Olympics are not about sport but about money!
Olympic Medals won during the Beijing 2008 Olympics

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