SERBIA’S NATIONAL OLYMPIC Committee (OKS) on Monday rejected allegations made by British media alleging their involvement in the black market sale of tickets for the London Olympic Games.
“I am unpleasantly surprised by a British newspaper’s report and by the fact that my words were put in such a context,” Djordje Visacki, OKS secretary general said in an e-mail sent to AFP.
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 authorised Olympics ticket resellers (ATRs) were found to have broken the rules.
The Sunday Times claimed that NOCs and ATRs had been caught selling thousands of top tickets to the London Games on the black market for up to 10 times their face value.
According to the report, one Serbian official had offerred 1,500 tickets for a total of 99,000 euros.
Visacki said he had been “approached by accredited persons” at the official meeting of the European Olympic committees in Budapest who had inquired about the ticket distribution and a contact with the official agent for Serbia.
“I was contacted in the official zone, therefore I had no reason to believe that these people were not who they said they were,” Visacki said.
He said it was “common” to exchange tickets for the competitions in which Serbian athletes were not taking part in for the ones they would be represented in order to obtain more support for them.
This is the only way for the Serbs living in Western Europe to obtain tickets to see their countrymen competing.
“This is why we gave to these (people) the contact of the official distributor in Serbia,” he insisted.
The agency Big Blue, charged with distributing the tickets in Serbia, did not reply when contacted by AFP.
The report said the London Games organisers’ decision to release 1.2 million tickets — more than ever before — to foreign NOCs had allowed agents and officials to flood the black market with seats for highly sought-after events.
IOC rules say that NOCs must keep their supply of tickets within their country. They can distribute the tickets themselves or nominate ATRs, who must be approved.
The Games get underway in London on July 27 and end August 12.