By Andrew Warshaw at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

london 2012_football_tickets_17-07-12July 17 - Despite constant assurances that the tournament would be packed out and a huge success, London 2012 organisers were forced to retreat today when they announced that half-a-million Olympic football tickets for men and women combined are to be removed from sale.

No Scottish players are in the Team GB men's squad and interestingly capacity is to be reduced at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

The fact the same thing is happening at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium (pictured below), where the upper tier of seats will be closed for all games, will be a massive disappointment given that five Welsh players have been selected.

Reducing capacity at stadiums will prevent swathes of empty seats but London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe suggested the shortfall was to be expected.

"It's always a challenge; you've got lots of venues and lots of matches and you don't know until late on who is going to be playing," he said.

Team GB's women take on New Zealand in Cardiff in the first football match of the tournament on July 25, two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The capacity in that stadium will be scaled down from nearly 75,000 to 40,000.

However much gloss they try to put on it, the fact remains London 2012 has struggled to sell football tickets outside of London with less than euphoric interest in Scotland and Wales.

Cardiff Millenium_Stadium_Reflected_17-07-12
London 2012 said 250,000 football tickets were currently still on sale, while 50,000 tickets are available to buy for other sports at the moment.

In addition to this, 200,000 more football tickets and 200,000 tickets for other sports are due to go on sale after being returned by National Olympic Committees from around the world.

Coe insisted football sales compared favourably with previous Olympics.

"They are in reduced size venues of course, we've had to scale down the size of those venues," Coe said.

"We've sold more football tickets than we've sold anything else, we've got 37-38,000 tickets we've sold for Britain's ladies v New Zealand which I think benchmarks pretty well for instance with the women's FA Cup final this year which was an all-London affair at the Emirates [Stadium] and they had about 5,000.

"We are not in bad shape on tickets but football tickets at a Games are always the challenge.

"I think we'll do pretty well."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
April 2012: 1.4 million Olympic football tickets on sale tomorrow