Sponsors' share of tickets 'fair', says minister


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The Independent Online

The Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, said he expects he and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) will "get some stick" when it is revealed just how many of the top tickets have gone to corporate sponsors rather than on sale to the public.

The breakdown will be revealed, but "probably not until after the Games", Mr Robertson, pictured, said.

Olympic organisers have regularly reiterated their promise that 75 per cent of tickets to the Games are exclusively for the British public, but have refused to answer questions on how many tickets to the most popular events, such as athletics and cycling, have been made available.

Hundreds of thousands of football tickets, likely to remain unsold, will be counted as part of the 75 per cent. The Games' 55 sponsors, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical and British Petroleum, have received an allocation of around 500,000 tickets, from the total of 8.8 million.

"I hope the stick we get is balanced by an appreciation that sponsors have contributed over £700m to the Games that would otherwise have had to come out of the public purse," Mr Robertson said.

Each sponsor has its ticket allocation written into its contract with Locog. But Locog is technically a private company, and is not required to divulge the details of these contracts.

Eleven of the 55 sponsors are "Worldwide Olympic Partners" who are given their allocation by the International Olympic Committee.

At a hearing in March, the chair of the London Assembly's Economy, Culture and Sport Committee, Baroness Doocey, told Locog chief Lord Coe that "Locog's ongoing secrecy over Olympic tickets is shameful", and that the information he refused to reveal is available "at the touch of a button".

Tickets for a further 96 sessions will be made available on the London 2012 website on Friday morning, including athletics, swimming, football at Wembley, volleyball, table tennis and boxing – with prices ranging from £20 to £720.

Eight million tickets for the Olympics and Paralympics have been sold, with another three million still available.