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MP: Extra tickets for southerners

A northern Labour MP has joined the Olympic ticket row, claiming only southerners will benefit from the release of extra tickets.

Simon Danczuk, the MP for Rochdale, said while the sale of tickets for empty seats at Games venues will benefit locals in London, it is unlikely the rest of the UK will be able to take up the opportunity.

"We were promised these games would be inclusive and reach out to all corners of the UK," he said.

"Yet the reality is those who will benefit from the release of further tickets are Londoners. People in the north who were unable to get tickets first time round will feel hard done by."

Sparse crowds at some events on the first day of the Games led to questions for the organisers Locog. Swathes of empty seating could be seen in areas used by the "Olympic Family" - VIPs, sports federations and the thousands of media who have all descended on the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

Armed services helping with security at the Games and local teachers and school children were given access to the unused seats. And thousands more unused tickets were made available online as Locog tried to tackle the issue.

Mr Danczuk added: "People living outside the M25 will not be able to get to London at the drop of the hat and they will feel doubly aggrieved at missing out again."

So far, more than two million spectators have turned out to watch the first three days of London 2012, said organisers.

Some 856,000 fans, including the football crowds and a "conservative" estimate of 500,000 for the road race, watched on Saturday, with a further 900,000 turning out on Sunday, said Locog.

A further 370,000 spectators watched on Monday, meaning attendee rates for the three days were 86%, 92% and 88% respectively.


From Belfast Telegraph