LONDON – The IOC was investigating allegations that some national Olympic officials were breaking strict rules on selling tickets for the London Games, following a report in The Sunday Times newspaper.
The International Olympic Committee pledged to take the “strongest sanctions” possible if members of national Olympic committees (NOCs) and authorised ticket resellers (ATRs) were found to have broken the rules.
The Sunday Times claimed that NOCs and ATRs had been caught selling thousands of top tickets to the London Games on the black market for up to 10 times their face value.
The British broadsheet said it had found “widespread corruption” reaching across 54 countries and had passed its evidence to the IOC.
“After claims that several NOCs and ATRs were reportedly willing to break the rules by offering to buy or sell tickets outside their territory, sell tickets at inflated prices, or sell tickets to unauthorised resellers, the IOC has ordered an immediate inquiry and referred the allegations to its independent Ethics Commission,” said an IOC statement.
The IOC said the commission would look into the evidence and would examine any recommendations that could improve the system of international ticket sales.
“The IOC takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate,” added the statement.
“Should any irregularities be proven, the organisation will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner. The NOCs are autonomous organisations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions.”
Many British fans have been left disappointed after being unable to secure the seats they wanted, in the several rounds of official ticket sales.
The report said the London Games organisers’ decision to release 1.2 million tickets — more than ever before — to foreign NOCs had allowed agents and officials to flood the black market with seats for highly sought-after events.
IOC rules say that NOCs must keep their supply of tickets within their country. They can distribute the tickets themselves or nominate ATRs, who must be approved.
It is against the rules for any seller to inflate the price of a ticket by more than 20 percent of its face value, or trade tickets with unauthorised dealers, the report said.
The Games get underway on July 27.