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.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on