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IOC launches black market ticket probe

ESPN staff
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Tickets available on the black market included top athletics events © PA Photos
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The International Olympic Committee has launched an investigation following reports Olympic representatives were prepared to sell London 2012 tickets on the black market.

A report in the Sunday Times alleged representatives from more than 50 countries were willing sell thousands of tickets for up to ten times their face value. Undercover reporters from the paper posed as ticket touts intending to resell the tickets in the Middle East and were reportedly offered deals from countries including Greece, Serbia and China.

The National Olympic Committees are banned from selling tickets overseas and the IOC said it would impose the "strongest sanctions" against any agent found to have illegally sold tickets. A statement said: "The IOC takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate.

"Should any irregularities be proven, the organisation will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner. The NOCs are autonomous organisations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions."

The Games' organising committee (LOCOG) also moved to deny an allegation by a member of the Greek Olympic committee that he had persuaded Lord Coe to give Greece more tickets.

A LOCOG spokeswoman said: "With regard to 'boasts' by the Greek Olympic Committee (HOC) that discussions on tickets took place with Sebastian Coe, we can confirm this is untrue.

"Seb received a letter from the HOC (as he did from other NOCs) and responded saying that tickets had been allocated in accordance with the IOC's ticketing policy. There was no further contact - either formal or informal - on this subject."

LOCOG said it would support the IOC's investigation "in any way we can" and clarified that none of the tickets in question came from the allocation to the British public.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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