Ticket hopefuls may be in for an Olympic shock

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The Independent Online

A month-long wave of seismic hits to the nation's bank accounts is expected to begin tomorrow, when the London 2012 Organising Committee starts taking payment for tickets for the Olympic Games.

Some 1.8 million people have requested more than 20 million tickets, with over half the events oversubscribed and having to be allocated by ballot. Hundreds of thousands of people have submitted multiple requests for tickets totalling several hundred pounds or more, prompting concerns that, should they be allocated all or most of the tickets they have requested, many may not have the funds available to pay for them.

"I've put in a request for nearly £3,000 worth," said Bryan Longhurst, a banker from London. "I know for a fact I won't have the money if I get them all and I don't know anyone who does. Everyone I know is saying the same thing. They haven't got the money."

Former Labour Party communications chief Alastair Campbell recently revealed he had submitted a request for tickets totalling £6,000. Everyone who has submitted a request received an email reminder last week to ensure sufficient funds are available between 10 May and 10 June and to be aware that applications may be withdrawn if the money is not available.

"We have made it quite clear to people they have to be ready to pay," said a Olympics Committee spokesperson. "But if you don't have the money you won't lose your tickets straight away. You'll receive at least one further request to get the money together."

The organising committee, known as Locog, has said customers will have the opportunity to sell back any unwanted tickets, but they will have to buy their entire allocation first. They will not be allowed to buy only some of any tickets they are offered.

Payments for the 1.8 million requests will be spread out between 10 May and 10 June, giving organisers time to go through the mammoth administrative task.

The latest date customers will find out what tickets they have been allocated is 24 June. When buying tickets for some events, customers were able to specify a range of prices, in the event that their preferred price point was oversubscribed. Elevating people up and down the price tariffs in order to sell out events has proved particularly time consuming. Any tickets sold back to Locog will go on resale next year.

Applications closed on 26 April, with 6.6 million tickets available. Applications were received for every session of every event at every available price. Locog hopes to generate around £500m from ticket sales.

Track cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, triathlon, modern pentathlon, equestrian (cross country) and both the opening and closing ceremonies completely sold out. Swimming and tennis were also very popular.

Meanwhile several of the London 2012 venues will host "test" events this August, in a series of sports events under the banner "London Prepares".

Basketball and BMX will be the first competitive sports to take place in the Olympic Park itself, with events taking place from 16 to 21 August.

The mountain biking venue at Hadleigh Farm in Essex will host a competition on 31 July and the much-talked-about beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade in central London will host a women's event from 9 to 14 August.