Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Coe calls for tickets perspective

Empty seats are seen during the Artistic Gymnastics team qualification at the North Greenwich Arena

Olympics supremo Lord Coe has called for the row over empty venues to be kept in perspective.

Thousands of people were watching events and several steps could be taken to improve the situation, but he said it was still early days.

Asked if sponsors who failed to turn up would be named, Lord Coe said: "I'm not sure naming and shaming is what we're in to at the moment. I don't think you will be seeing this as an issue long-term into the Games."

Lord Coe said more tickets could be sold, while others could be offered to troops.

But he stressed it was still early on in the competition.

He was speaking at the Olympic Park as an urgent investigation was launched after gaps were visible at a number of venues on the first full day of competition, including the Aquatics Centre where British medal hope Hannah Miley missed out on a podium place.

The row over the empty seats comes despite the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vowing to avoid a repeat of the scandal which saw many stadiums left empty at the Beijing Games four years ago.

Olympic fans expressed disappointment at the sight of rows of empty seats on the first day of the London 2012 Games.

Locog has launched an investigation while the Government has expressed concern as to why the seats were not taken despite events being apparently sold out.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the empty seats were "very disappointing" and suggested they could be offered to members of the public.

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