Fans get stuck at the ticket fences
London Olympic organisers face a growing backlash from hundreds of thousands of sports fans who woke up on Wednesday to find they were ticketless, despite some bidding thousands of pounds for tickets.other Updated: Jun 03, 2011 01:05 IST
London Olympic organisers face a growing backlash from hundreds of thousands of sports fans who woke up on Wednesday to find they were ticketless, despite some bidding thousands of pounds for tickets.
Even Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, failed to secure any tickets from his personal application, but said it proved that the process was fair.
"I am proud to be British. No other country or culture in the world would have a situation where the mayor of the host city goes into a ballot for tickets for his family and gets rejected," he said.
But others were crying foul. The controversial ballot, held after 20 million people applied for the six million tickets, was criticised for effectively favouring wealthier buyers who could afford to make multiple bids.
Among those left empty-handed were Frances Jauch, a primary school teacher. She applied for tickets to the hockey qualifiers and gymnastics, while her boyfriend applied for badminton and table tennis - a total of £160 (R11,724) worth of tickets.
"I thought we were quite a safe bet with hockey and table tennis. We went for two low-priced tickets, as we didn't want to risk overspending and we don't live in London," said Jauch.
Jauch, a former county-level hockey player, added: "If Lord Coe's aim was to bring sport and the Olympics to as many people as possible, and to inspire them to take part in sport, then he has failed dismally."
The lucky one
But one man picked up £11,000 (R8,06,046) worth of tickets after bidding on a total of £36,000 (R26,38,205). Stephen Hunt, an insolvency practitioner, said he had surpassed his credit limit and initially did not have the available funds to pay for the tickets, but has since increased his card's credit limit so he can go ahead.
At the 2000 Games in Sydney, it emerged that only 14 low-price "category A" tickets were made available to the public at one of the diving finals, with the rest allocated to corporate sponsors and VIPs. London Olympic officials said that just 8% of the 8.8m tickets for the 2012 Games have been set aside for sponsors.
Disappointed fans will now have to wait until the "second chance" sale begins towards the end of this month.