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IOC reviewing ticketing system for future Games

British soldiers watch gymnast Simona Castro Lazo from Chile perform during the Artistic Gymnastics women's qualification at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 29, 2012, in London. Troops, teachers and students are getting free tickets to fill prime seats that were empty at some Olympic venues on the first full day of competition.

Gregory Bull/AP

The International Olympic Committee is reviewing how it distributes tickets to future Games to avoid some of the problems that have emerged at the London Olympics.

The IOC distributed about 25 per cent of all London Olympic tickets to Olympic associations in roughly 204 member countries and territories. Those national organizations then decided how to sell or redistribute the tickets, either directly or through a ticket reseller. The remaining 75 per cent of tickets were kept by London Olympic organizers and sold in Britain.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Tuesday that the IOC's audit commission is now reviewing the distribution system to member national associations.

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"We are looking into whether that is the most effective and best way that can be done," he said. "Now we live in a digital age, so is that the only way that can be done?"

One option is to use a more centralized system, rather than relying on local associations to resell tickets.

The review won't do much to quell the growing anger in London over rows of empty seats at various venues.

The vacant seats are in special areas reserved for accredited people, such as athletes, sponsors, media and other Olympic officials. Adams said those seats cannot be sold to the public because anyone sitting there has to go through a security clearance months in advance of the Games. That's because dignitaries are also seated in those areas.

However, the IOC is trying to shrink the size of accredited areas in some venues so that more seats can be made available for sale. On Monday, Olympic organizers sold 3,800 tickets that had been freed up that way. All of the tickets were sold in Britain. Organizers said Tuesday that attendance at the Games has been running at around 90 per cent so far.

Adams gave no indication that the IOC is reviewing the amount of seating set aside for accredited officials at Olympic Games.

Roughly 8.8 million tickets were put on sale for the London Games, with 75 per cent sold in Britain.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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