Fears over bribery law will leave best seats in the stadium unsold

 

Thousands of the very best Olympics tickets and corporate hospitality packages remain unsold because com- panies are worried that lavishing so much money on clients will cause them to fall foul of the Bribery Act.

The Act took effect in July 2011 and allows "reasonable and proportionate hospitality". However, the best Olympics packages, which include a champagne reception, fine dining and a top seat to the 100m final, cost £6,500.

Alan Gilpin, chief operating officer of Prestige Ticketing, which has a purpose-built hospitality pavilion within the Olympic Park, said the Act had been "a thorn in our side for the last year".

He told Reuters: "Everyone would liked to have sold more. Is the Bribery Act a contributory factor? Probably yes." Prestige has 88,000 tickets for the Games, around 1 per cent of the total number, and is offering hospitality packages for a range of sports including the tennis at Wimbledon, as well as swimming and basketball. So far it has sold 70 per cent of them.

Olympic organisers have said arrangements are in place to sell on any spare tickets at box offices on the Olympic Park, so there may yet be a few very lucky spectators. At previous events, such as the Rugby World Cup, Mr Gilpin said sales have increased as the event has drawn closer, but demand for London 2012 tickets from the public has been higher than for any sporting event ever before, so the slow uptake for corporate seats is surprising.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said in guidelines to the Bribery Act last year: "No one wants to stop firms getting to know their clients by taking them to events like Wimbledon or the Grand Prix."

Tim Jones, a partner at the London law firm Freshfields Bruchkaus Deringer, who is providing legal advice to London 2012, said: "People have come to us to say can we invite guests? The answer is yes." But he said guidelines would have to be in place, particularly where hospitality packages might include hotel stays and tickets for friends and family of the client. Fifty-one companies are sponsoring the Olympics, including the International Olympic Committee's top sponsors such as McDonald's and Dow, and a further 40 sponsoring solely the London Games, including BT and Proctor and Gamble.

All are given ticket allocations in return, but many have been wary of taking them up, in response to the ticket ballot that left so many people empty-handed and spawned accusations of unfairness. Proctor and Gamble have put their entire allocation into a "nearest and dearest" programme, designed to ensure that tickets are available for friends and family of competing Team GB athletes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent