London official admits 'appalling' problem with Olympic tickets
A SENIOR London 2012 figure has admitted that serious problems in the distribution of tickets ahead of the football matches at Newcastle's St James' Park yesterday were "appalling" and "unacceptable".
Hundreds of people were forced to queue for several hours before the Mexico v South Korea game, both to collect pre-paid tickets and buy tickets, and some missed part or all of the game.
Geoff Hodgson, a board member for London 2012 nations and regions, said: "I can only apologise. It is indefensible. What we are trying to sort out now is it doesn't happen again.
"Last night was totally and completely 100pc unacceptable. It was absolutely appalling.
"It had all the potential to be an outstanding night and for many people, it was, but for those outside queuing, it was totally unacceptable.
"We cannot allow this to happen again. There are no excuses for this. A system for ticketing was set up for global ticketing to handle every ticket for the Olympics by one party, and the procedures that they have appear to be 'one size fits all'.
"To be blunt, unlike every other sport, there was not a test event for football at a football ground that is being used. The test event, effectively, was the Riverside at Middlesbrough, and that's a venue that's not being used and the tickets were dealt with in a different way.
"The party that needs to be influenced is Ticketmaster."
Ticketmaster said spectators could collect tickets on any day rather than just matchday.
A Ticketmaster spokesman said: "The Olympic events outside of London are proving to be extremely popular, and as a result we saw extremely high numbers of spectators arriving at St James' Park to purchase football tickets on the day of the event.
"While Ticketmaster is contracted to manage the box offices at Olympic venues, the staff numbers at those venues are determined by Locog. We will continue to work closely with Locog to ensure that the box office staff levels are sufficient to meet the demands for ticket sales and collection.
"Spectators are encouraged to continue to follow the advice to arrive at all Olympic venues as early as possible to ensure that they have sufficient time before an event begins. Spectators can also collect tickets for any Games event, from any box office on any day, not just the event day."