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Chinese Olympic Committee probes into London Games ticket allegations

06-19-2012 18:46 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

BEIJING, June 19 (Xinhua) -- A senior official of China's national Olympic committee responded Tuesday to the London Games ticket scandal, saying an investigation into the alleged illegal sale had started.

Song Luzeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC), told Xinhua that the COC learnt the allegations by British media over the black market ticket sale for the London Olympic Games, especially the part involving an authorized ticket reseller (ATR).

"The COC took an immediate action," said Song. "We demanded a thorough and sincere internal probe to be conducted by the ATR for China."

"We will keep a close eye on the issue and report the updated information to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in time," he added.

Dozens of officials and ticket agents for the London Games, including the sole authorized one for China, Caissa Touristic, have been caught selling thousands of top tickets on black market for up to 10 times their face value, last weekend's Sunday Times reported.

According to a two-month undercover investigation by Calvert &Blake of the British newspaper, it found "widespread corruption among officials and agents controlling the tickets" for at least 54 countries.

IOC called an emergency meeting of its executive board and launched an investigation on Friday after learning of the news.

Among the news reports, there were some paragraphs relating to China's official ticket agency, which had used a United Kingdom front company to buy dozens of "the best seats in the stadiums" to "top events meant for the British public".

They agreed to sell tickets to the Sunday Times reporters, who posed as Middle Eastern ticket touts, for up to 6,000 British pounds (about 9400 U.S. dollars) each, according to the report.

The Chinese travel agency, Caissa Touristic, denied on Monday they were involved in selling London Games tickets on the black market.

"We have carried out every operation following the rules and requests of IOC and COC," said Caissa's vice president Zhang Rui. "The story published by the Sunday Times is untrue, at least the part about us."

Other NOCs and ATRs alleged to be involved in the ticket scandal, such as the Greek and Serbian Olympic Committees and a Lithuanian travel agency, rejected allegations of their involvement in ticket scandal late on Monday.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Sunday it was investigating allegations that some national Olympic officials were breaking strict rules on selling tickets for the London Games.

It pledged to take the "strongest sanctions" possible if members of national Olympic committees (NOCs) and ATRs were found to have broken the rules.

Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) has expressed its supportive attitude to the IOC action through an email to Xinhua.

"H.E. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the ANOC, fully supports the decision of the IOC to investigate allegations that certain NOCs and ATRs have broken rules relating to the sale of tickets for the Olympic Games in London," it read.

The president stated that everybody is innocent until proven guilty, however, therefore any newspaper of media organization publishing such allegations should submit the evidence to the IOC Ethics Commission immediately for consideration.

He also believed there's no scope for such kind of activities within the Olympic Movement and insisted he was confident that the IOC would deal with this effectively.

Olympic Games ticket allocations have been given by organizers to each of the 205 national Olympic committees to sell in their home countries, some of which may appoint a local organization to sell the tickets.

IOC rules prohibit national committees from selling tickets abroad, inflating ticket prices or selling tickets to unauthorized resellers.

The IOC ethics commission has asked the Sunday Times for all of its evidence, but the whole investigation is expected not to be completed until after the London Games, slated from July 27 to August 12.



Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: Xinhua

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