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A million people failed with 2012 ticket bids

More than half of applicants for London 2012 Olympics tickets did not receive any in the ballot.

That means almost a million people will have priority in a second ticketing ballot that starts later this month, but the most popular events, and many of the cheaper tickets available to other events, have already sold out.

More than 1.8 million applications were made, totalling 20 million requests for the 6.6 million tickets that were available. While showcase events such as the opening and closing ceremonies and the men's 100m final were expected to be hugely oversubscribed, less popular events like BMX and archery have also sold out.

A London 2012 spokesman would not confirm the figure, which was reported by the BBC, as the organisers are still going through the final stages of the first ballot, but said: "We're not denying it. It could well be that figure."

The ballot system has come in for criticism in the past week as British applicants missed out on tickets, with calls for more transparency over the number of tickets available to the public and the method of allocation.

Those who were successful received an average of 5 to 10 per cent of the tickets they had requested, leading to claims that the system hugely favoured wealthy people who could afford to overbid and so increase their chances of receiving more tickets.

"Lots of people applied for the same thing," the spokesman said. "Lots of people applied for tickets for £20 and under. We still think the ballot was the fairest way to do it."

He said the second ballot would include tickets at the full range of prices for a large selection of events.

Many British sports fans have flocked to websites selling Olympic tickets in Germany, Denmark and other European countries.

Under EU law, other countries have to allow British sales but the German ticket reseller, Dertours.de, suffered a computer crash after being inundated with British demand. Denmark, which had only a small number of tickets for sale, suspended its sales under the weight of British interest.

Many users have registered on a French website, www.eventeam2012.fr, to buy tickets which form part of the allocation to the French Olympic Committee.