Olympic ticket scandal dismays UK sports fans
Published 26/06/2011 | 05:00
There was uproar in British sports circles last night when it emerged that more than 150,000 tickets allocated to Britons in the official ballot for the 2012 Olympic Games had instead been given out to other EU nationalities.
People in other EU countries -- already given their own tranche of seats for events -- were also eligible to apply for the UK tickets because of EU "free trade" rules, described as a farce last night by one British MP.
The figures detailing how many British tickets went abroad show that around 95,000 EU residents entered the first-round ballot for three million tickets, which attracted a total of 1.9 million applicants online.
In total they obtained more than 150,000 tickets, five per cent of all those sold.
At the same time, fewer than half of those who applied received tickets in the first round, as demand outstripped supply in many of the events.
These figures do not include the second-round sale of 2.3 million tickets last Friday, which EU residents were also eligible to enter. A similar proportion is expected to gain these tickets.
The system of 'double dipping' by European fans was criticised as unfair last night.
Priti Patel, the Tory MP for Witham, Essex, said: "British taxpayers and Londoners who have paid through their taxes to fund the Games will be alarmed and hugely disappointed to see they were not given priority on tickets when they went on sale. The system is a farce."
The ticketing process was mired in controversy again this weekend after demand for the second round of sales caused the London 2012 website to grind to a halt.
A third round of sales is due some time between December and July next year.