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No baby's day out for free

india Updated: Jan 26, 2012 00:25 IST

London 2012 organisers are facing a backlash from prospective parents who have learned they will need tickets for newborn babies - even if they were not conceived when the highly prized seats were bought.

The situation, which has been described as "ridiculous" by angry ticketholders, has arisen because most tickets went on sale last April - 15 months before the Games.

Ticketholders, some of whom will have babies just weeks old and will be breastfeeding, have been told by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) they can try to buy an additional ticket for the baby. But with tickets at a premium, and only a few "pay your age" concessionary tickets available, most parents will not be able to get a ticket or will have to pay the full price. Ticket-holder Rosalind Ereira said she was told she would have to call a hotline to try to buy an extra ticket to the dressage for her as-yet-unborn baby when the final 1.3m tickets go on sale in April.

Tickets are a must
"Everyone attending the Games must be a ticketholder, no matter how old they are," she was told. "Where available, pay your age tickets for children aged one and under would be charged at £1 (R72). You would need a full price ticket for the session in order for any children to accompany you."

Sex discrimination?
Ereira has contacted the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which told her she may have a case for "indirect sex discrimination", as the policy is more likely to affect women than men.

The EHRC said: "A business must not do something which has a worse impact on you and on other people who share a particular protected characteristic such as gender than it has on people who do not share that characteristic. Unless the business can show that what they have done is objectively justified, this will be what is called indirect discrimination.

"It could be argued that women are more likely to have child caring responsibilities and thus this policy might have more of an impact for women."

The policy has drawn a furious response from parents on the Mumsnet website in recent weeks.