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Anger growing over lack of UK priority for Olympic tickets

London 2012 logo
London 2012 logo

by political editor Paul Francis

Kent politicians have criticised the news that UK residents will not get priority for tickets to the 2012 Olympics.

Organisers of the London games say that when tickets eventually go on sale, anyone who applies from any European state will have equal priority with applicants from the UK.

LOCOG - the London Organising Commiittee - says it is bound by EU procurement rules that do not allow it to give residents in the UK preferential treatment.

MP Hugh Robertson
MP Hugh Robertson

Conservative MP Hugh Robertson, who represents Faversham and Mid Kent and is shadow sports minister, said everything should be done to maximise the number of tickets for the public.

"I am aware this danger exists because it appeared to be the case with the European football championships," he said. "I understand LOCOG are seeking guidance from the European Commission about this."

There are fears that with a vast number of corporate sponsors, the number of tickets available for members of the public could be severely limited.

Mr Robertson said: "We have told the organisers that we recognise that there is £600million of corporate sponsorship but that it would be a disaster for the Games if a significant number of tickets are not available at an affordable price."

Nigel Farage, UKIP MEP for the south east, said: "If this is the case, then it is a rotten deal for the British taxpayer, which is picking up the tab for the games but now appears will have to compete for tickets."

A spokesman for LOCOG - the Olympics’ organising committee - said the ticketing arrangements had to comply with EU rules. "We are bound by those competition rules and we cannot target British applicants for tickets - that is the law and we have to abide by the law. We are pretty confident that with 9.2million tickets for the Olympics and paralympics, British people will take up their availability."

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