(LONDON-AFP) – More unused Olympics tickets held by international sports federations will go on sale to the public, London 2012 organisers promised Monday, following a row over blocks of empty seats.
Some 3,000 Olympics tickets from the federations were “put back in the pot” and sold to the public Sunday, LOCOG said, amid growing public anger over swathes of empty seats at events on the first days of the Games.
Organisers have blamed the unfilled seats on accredited officials and members of the media who have failed to take up their reserved places at several sports venues.
They include the Aquatics Centre, the Wimbledon tennis complex, and the North Greenwich Arena, where gymnastics events are taking place.
London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe had promised to urge international sports federations to ensure they used the areas reserved for them to avoid embarrassment.
Jackie Brock-Doyle, LOCOG’s director of communications, said they had been able to get back 3,000 seats and re-sell them — and will repeat the move each day to make sure as many seats as possible are filled.
“We talked to the international federations yesterday; we were able to put back into the pot for sale around 3,000 tickets last night; they have all been sold,” she told a press conference.
“That includes about 600 for the gymnastics event today and we’re going to do that on a day-to-day basis.”
Brock-Doyle said organisers were making progress, but admitted that the re-distribution of accredited seating was “not an exact science”.
British Prime Minister David Cameron believes the empty seats at venues are “disappointing” and has been briefed by the organisers on what action they are taking to solve the situation, his spokesman said.
“The PM is satisfied that action has been taken and LOCOG are going to look further about what more can be done to see more members of the public getting into venues to enjoy the Games.”
“He’s satisfied that LOCOG are on the case, that they’ve already taken action and are looking to see what more can be done.”
The empty seats have sparked anger in Britain because many people were left disappointed in the massively oversubscribed ticket ballots ahead of the Games.