UK & World News
Olympics: Coe Appeals For Calm In Seats Row
London 2012 chief Lord Coe has insisted Olympic venues are "stuffed" with sports fans - despite hundreds of seats being left empty.
Large areas of seating were left vacant during swimming, gymnastics, and tennis events on Saturday and again this morning, sparking angry protests.
It has emerged many seats had been allocated to the so-called 'Olympic family', which includes officials, sports federations and journalists.
To help tackle the problem Games organisers Locog have again turned to servicemen and women, as they did when private security firm G4S failed to supply enough guards.
This time they have been asked to step into the breach by watching sporting events and filling seats during their rest periods.
Lord Coe has urged that the seating row be kept in perspective, saying it was early days and improvements would be made.
He added: "We take it seriously. I don't want to see swathes of those seats empty and that's why we will make sure, where we possibly can, people are in those seats when they are not used."
The head of the British Olympic Association Lord Moynihan has called for a 30-minute rule on ticketing so that people who fail to turn up on time lose their seats.
"We need every seat filled," he said. "We owe it to the team, we owe it to British sports fans the length and breadth of the country."
The seating row broke out on Saturday after large gaps were visible in the crowds at venues including the Aquatics Centre and gymnastics arena.
In contrast, huge crowds lined the streets, where tickets were not required, to watch Team GB in the men's cycling road race.
A spokesman for Locog said the majority of the empty seats were thought to belong to accredited groups such as governing bodies and the media.
He added that some tickets remained unsold and urged members of the public to check online for availability.
"Many of our venues were packed to the rafters today. Where there are empty seats, we will look at who should have been sitting in the seats, and why they did not attend," he said.
"Early indications are that the empty seats are in accredited seating areas, but this is day one, and our end of day review will provide a fuller picture of attendance levels across all our venues."
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said the empty seats were "very disappointing" and suggested they could be offered to members of the public.
He said a system had been introduced for London 2012 similar to the one used at Wimbledon, where people coming out of the stadium handed on their tickets so the seats could be made available to other people.
"So we are trying a lot of innovations, it's a shame this happened, but we are going to do everything we can to make sure we fill up these stadia," he added.
Gaps in the seating were also visible at the handball, volleyball, badminton and basketball arenas.
The cheaper seats higher in the stands were mostly full but those lower down, which are generally more expensive, were not filled.
One basketball spectator, Jane Smith, from London, said: "It's very disappointing to see this, particularly as we all tried so hard to get our tickets. It doesn't help the atmosphere at all."
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what do you think?
So why not just have a volunteer standing outside each event with a big flag. If the flag is raised then anyone can come forward and pay £10 for a seat to an event on a first come first served basis. Makes a few extra quid for whatever all this money goes to and it fills the empty seats. Could be an ideal opportunity for poorer people/families to see an event they could otherwise only dream of.
Then you would get people who had to pay the full price, complaining. This is the corporates, and the freeloaders who haven't shown up. The sale of tickets should be for the public only, and not priviledged groups who only want the seats for the best events. It's another Tory farce, (not forgetting "Lord" Coe )and we are now the laughing stock, especially after opening night, and that depressing show.
El B. Like the idea. I am sure they have done something similar on the 5th day at test matches where if the corporates haven't shown up by lunchtime the seats are put on general sale. Should try ther same thing here
aa aa i don't know why you think its another Tory farce, labour would have done exactly the same with the tickets, do you really think you would get a vip ticket if another party were in charge of the country, it seems like every comment you make brings politics into question, get off your labour high chair and start posting comments without politics involved.
If people buy tickets and then choose not to go --------- ?? someone is lying as usual.
Phylip de la Maziere
G4S Gold medal for the non security event. Ticket allocation gold medal for invisible spectators event, Flag projection gold medal for the WRONG flag. Bet the rest of the world is just falling about laughing!
They were warned this would happen at the start when they started selling the tickets the way they sold them.
Shirley. I think you are right. The tickets were sold in tranches to try and con people into thinking there was a shortage and hoping for increased demand for the next release.Well it has backfired and serves them right
The tickets were never sold. We were led to believe there was a high demand so people would panic and buy. People didn't fall for it. The country is in such a state, people can't afford to pay this kind of money.
Just try and find a single empty seat when the poseurs and freeloaders events come round !
If they now came to me and said i could have what i want originally wanted and got none, i would tell them to shove them
better to sell a ticket for ten pouds than have empty seat very very bad planning but not forgetting we are dealing with upper class twits no idea how to organise i have seen it a hundred times when i have been involved in events . if those who have bought tickets were given auto upgrade then there would be no complaints . games are likely to end up a complete fiasco caused by money grabbing organisers (ha ha ha )
Maybe these games have been over hyped by the organisers?
The Olympics is supposed to be about the sport and not the money so this should be reflected in the ticket prices. All sold out for £15 a head is better than tickets not being sold at all and it also makes attendance affordable for all those who have a love for sport but not the money to squander.
Windows Live User
Well said Kids will never get into sport if they dont have opportunity or dreams fulfilled. This was an oprotunity lost for future generations.
Err hello ! Headline news is that the U.K has dipped back into a recession ! Who can afford to travel to London at ridiculous prices then pay to watch an event which is also pitched at stupid money ! Get real.
It makes my blood boil at the way they built these concrete and tin eyesores at such a huge price, when in the end most will only be used for a few weeks. If they wanted to regenerate that part of east London they should have used the land for REAL houses and flats for REAL people with new cheap to rent industrial units for local people to find work in. But no, the local and national politicians wanted to play the "look how great we are game" Cameron's spouting on about meeting up with the top people from other countries and persuading them to invest in this country.... not a snowball in hells chance....
Increased rip off hotel prices, extortionate train prices (£300 from the north), silly ticket prices for the events. Apart from that, tickets for the best events, being affordable only for the very well off. Is anyone surprised the seats are empty. It's all been hyped up to hell. Even Camorons comment about the first womens football game. "It's a great moment for this country", or words to that effect........ seriously, Dave ? I think "Lord Coe", will be good old "Mister", pretty soon. Every level of this games has been a joke , up to now. Let's hope it improves, it's embarrassing.
it's not only embarrassing, it's us the taxpayer that's going to pick up the bill for this disorganised shambles, not coe, Cameron or Boris... in spite of not doing their job properly G4S still expect to be paid too
Windows Live User
A disgrace and a kick up the backside for the poor kids that couldnt be taken all the way to london to see an event
Windows Live User
In fact, after reading thro. this item a few times I am so disgusted and d.anmn angry that I will now not watch anymore olympics on tv. The greed shown has killed it for me.
WLU, That's a bit of a 'cut your nose off' view. The sportsmen/women have nothing to do with how the games was set up.
Windows Live User
Why are organisations sponser companies and the media given seats, when a lot of us in the UK cant afford them? We would have filled those seats if the price had been kept low and the cockneys kept the hotel prices reasonable. Cameron/Coe should have saw to this. A lot of British kids cant get to this once in a lifetime event through greed. Yet is it is put around that the olympics was for the future for kids I am certainly annoyed that I couldnt bring my grandchildren all the way down to london for a an event and stay over. Closest all we got was a look at a torch being carried past for 10secs. That is the full extent of our involvement! Thank you MR COE AND YOUR GREEDY TEAM
Do you know, I absolutely love Windows Live User. I have pondered over this issue and was wondering how to get my point over when, low and behold, WLU has done it beautifully and more succinctly than I could. Yes indeed Mr Coe, never mind naming and shaming the companies, in a feeble attempt to shift the blame. You and your team were responsible for ticket allocation and as my friend below says, it smacks of nothing but pure greed. Thank you WLU
Why do they not just let people in the queues come in and take those seats? If they have been paid for and have not been used let those who have waited for hours to get seats in, FREE. It would not be hard for the volunteers to establish where those seats are, how many there are and allow people in accordingly. Of course they would never do that. They would prefer to re-sell seats at probably extortionate prices.
So Jeremy Hunt has sussed out that 'full stadia create the best atmosphere'.......he's really got his finger on the pulse, that bloke!!
the dissappointing side to the olympics. independant shopkeepers threatened for trying to boost trade by using five rings in their shop windows and massive chunks of the ticket allocation given to multi million pound business sponsors. i thought they were supposed to be OUR olympics? we've basically been invaded by an organisation thats using and abusing our amenities and good will and then dissappearing again, (with all the profits).
People lost interest in sports when they realised how unhealthy it is to exercise. Then they all got computers and sat on chairs. Are you lot running about? Sitting there computing. Reading about the Olympics and how nobody bothered going because, they're all sitting around computing. Why would anybody want to go to the Olympics if it's always raining in England? It just hailed here. It seems to be hailing a lot, lately. That is what English weather is like during the summer. People don't go to the Olympics because all the people who exercised now have worn out joint damage, bad backs, sports injuries and tend to retire when they get to thirty years of age due to exhaustion. People would sooner spend £15 on something "useful" like food, clothes, their gardens, furniture.
The London 2012 Olympics was supposed to show that we as a nation could hold such an event and that it would be remembered by the world. Yes, the world will remember but not in a good way!! So far, we have had problems with the security firm not employing enough staff hence using our army to back it up - surely they have enough to do. Then a student managed to get in and join the Indian team in the athletes parade at the opening ceremony (where was the security then). Now, there are rows of empty seats which were supposed to be used by sponsors etc who could not be bothered to turn up when sports fans could not get tickets!! I pity the athletes who have trained so hard and it must be demoralising to see. What a farce!!