Lord Coe defends Olympic ticketing process

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The Independent Online

Lord Coe was again forced to defend the Olympic ticketing process today, saying people must not be "coy or naive" about the funding provided by businesses that have been given tickets.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said corporate allocations accounted for only 8% of the total number of tickets available.

There has been indignation over tour operators including Thomas Cook that are now offering Olympic packages with tickets at significantly higher prices.

Lord Coe said: "The corporates are responsible for about 8% of the tickets, the high end ticket packages are actually only 1% of tickets.

"The corporates in large part pay for the Games, we shouldn't be coy or naive about that. Twenty five per cent of the operating budget for the staging of the Games comes from ticket sales, and the corporates are probably collectively contributing about £1.5 billion to what we're actually doing."

He said organisers were obliged to give one million tickets to overseas federations, including football governing body Fifa, which was recently embroiled in a scandal over alleged corruption.

"A percentage of those tickets go to international federations and governing bodies," Lord Coe said. "Fifa is an international federation. We are obliged to do that."

The international allocation is not "out of perspective", he said, and 75% of tickets will go to members of the public.

Hundreds of thousands of tickets will be available in a second round for disappointed Olympics fans.

Details of the process will be revealed on or before June 24, but it will be first come, first served.

Yesterday Dee Doocey, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Olympics spokeswoman, called on politicians to give their tickets to members of the public.

She said: "With huge numbers of people disappointed that they have not yet received any Olympic tickets, it is simply disgraceful that so many politicians and their staff are set to get Olympic tickets without having to go through a ballot and with the bill often being picked up by the taxpayer.

"Politicians should get their snouts out of the trough and help ensure that up to 13,000 prime seats were now made available to the public."