Sports

Officials Fear Black Market London 2012 Olympic Tickets

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LONDON --- Sebastian Coe today warned here that anyone selling tickets for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics on the black market for more than face value will be prosecuted.

Coe had last week launched the ticket prices for the Games and revealed that 8.8 million costing up to £725 ($1,178) for premium events, like the men's 100 metres final, would be available when they go on sale next March.

Of those nearly a million will be available to the 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world and Coe made it clear that if any of their allocation end up in the hands of ticket touts then they will they face the consequences of legal action.

Addressing the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), he said: "It is very important for the reputation of the Olympic Movement that tickets do not find their way onto the black market."

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Coe claimed that he was not targetting just the NOCs and that London 2012 would adopt a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who tried to sell their Olympic and Paralympics tickets for profit.

"It is illegal to sell an Olympic ticket for more than face value without our permission," he said.

"It is a very simple concept.

"I don't think its acceptable.

"We will be under forensic scrutiny - the media will be watching us.

"The [Metropolitan] Police have got a dedicated unit.

"The reputation damage across the board if those tickets end up on the black market or in the hands of touts is not good."

Paul Deighton, the chief executive of London 2012, who also attended the meeting here, revealed that they have already opened discussions with secondary sellers, including eBay, to ensure that people who buy tickets will not be able to resell them on the internet.

"It is illegal to sell tickets without permission," said Deighton.

"We are working with eBay to stop them getting on there in the first place.

"They [eBay] are very clear that if someone is selling something that is illegal then they will take it down immediately.

"The way I think we can stop this is by making sure that we get the tickets as early as possible into the hands of people who most want them.

"So you don't make massive allocations to people who don't really want them and then you create a market."

Coe revealed that NOCs ticket allocations will be based on "sporting strengths and historic success of the team" but if anyone abuses the system then they will be punished.

"We will enforce this [law] vigorously," he said.

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