LONDON (Reuters) - Olympic officials will review the ticketing process for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro after coming in for criticism over empty seats at the London Olympics and following accusations of unauthorized sales among some sellers.
Ticketing has been the one grey cloud hanging over what has otherwise been regarded as a successful Games in London.
“We are definitely going to review the ticketing policy of the Games,” International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge told reporters on Sunday. “It is one of the issues that we are going to review in Rio.”
The London organizing committee will work with the IOC and Rio on the issue, he said. Tickets are currently sold through National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and authorized ticket resellers.
A report in Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper in June said numerous NOCs and resellers were offering to buy or sell tickets outside their territories, to sell tickets at inflated prices or sell tickets to unauthorized resellers.
The IOC has launched an investigation into the claims.
Rogge said the sale of tickets was a “very complicated issue because you need a good balance” in the crowd of domestic and international fans.
“But there is also, I would say, the fact that the distribution of tickets is done through National Olympic Committees or authorized ticket resellers and we are going to see whether this system will continue to work and how we can improve it,” he said.
The ticketing process has been particularly frustrating for those sports fans who complained about spending hours online trying to get their hands on tickets only to be told they were sold out.
Their anger was only compounded when in the early days of London 2012 television footage showed swathes of empty seats in some stadiums, including high profile sports and some finals.
International sports federations and National Olympic Committee members, as well as the media and athletes, were blamed for the gaps.
After stinging criticism in the British media and from the British Olympic Association, London’s organizers swung into action by using off-duty soldiers and volunteers to sit in empty seats. It is also reclaimed some of the accredited seats and put them on sale to the public.
Reporting by Avril Ormsby, editing by Matt Falloon