By Tom Degun in London
March 17 - The London Assembly today warned that London 2012 must give answers about how tickets for the Olympics and Paralympics will be allocated in order to build public confidence in the forthcoming ticketing strategy.
The Assembly’s Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee have written to London 2012 to seek answers about their plans for filling the Games' nine million seats.
Key questions from Londoners, who contributed to the Committee’s on-line discussion forum, were included in the submission sent to London 2012 which sets out the issues the Committee feels should be answered in the plans due to be published later this year.
The four key issues that are identified in the submission are: price, availability, priority access and purchasing arrangements.
Under International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules, the organisers must reserve a large number of seats for IOC representatives, athletes, the 205 National Olympic Committees, the Government and media.
In addition there will be an unknown number of seats reserved for official partners and sponsors.
In 2000, the Sydney Organising Committee were criticised for being secretive about its ticketing policy - particularly in relation to the allocation of tickets to sponsors and corporate hospitality companies - while in 2008, empty seats were a frequent sight at the Beijing Games.
In order to prevent similar issues in London, the Committee is calling on London 2012 to be open from the start about how many seats will be available to the public and how much they will cost.
Dee Doocey, the chair of the Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee, said: "Londoners have told us they want to know more about 2012 tickets and I hope LOCOG will be able to work with us to ensure as many people as possible can enjoy the Games."
The key issue is simple: how many people will be ahead of the average Londoner in the queue for Olympic tickets?
"LOCOG needs to be open and transparent about how many tickets are going to be available for the public and how many are going to be reserved for the Olympic family.
"These tickets for IOC staff, officials, partners and sponsors will significantly reduce the number of seats available for the public."
The Committee is calling on London 2012 to publish its strategy in draft form as soon as possible to allow for public debate and to build confidence in the ticketing plans.
The four issues and some of the questions the Committee wants London 2012 to answer are outlined below:
· How many tickets will be available at less that £10, £20 and £30, and how will these be distributed among the events?
· How will tickets for the most high-profile and popular events be allocated?
Availability of tickets to the public
· How many tickets will be made available free of charge to the government, the IOC and others, and how will these be distributed among the events?
· How many tickets will be allocated to corporate hospitality companies and others as premium tickets, and how will these be distributed among the events and how were these factors taken into account when making this decision?
Preferential access for priority groups
· Who does London 2012 consider to be priority groups for the purposes of access to preferential and low cost tickets for Games events?
· How will the proposed stand-by scheme for local children work in practice?
· What personal details will be collected by London 2012' ticketing partners, in what circumstances will it share personal details with a third party and what will happen to the database after the Games?
· What arrangements will be made to purchase tickets using cash for those who do not have Visa credit cards? Will this restriction apply to debit cards?
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