Spat brewing over 2010 ticket scalping

Wed May 21, 2008 7:02pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Games are preparing to confront an unnamed national Olympic committee that has allegedly agreed to resell coveted tickets to scalpers, officials said on Wednesday.

Organizers warned of the scheme earlier this month and are comparing offers being made by scalpers to ticket orders from national committees, which are part of the "Olympic family" and are allocated about one third of the tickets.

The committees, which are not allowed to resell tickets, face a deadline in the next few weeks to place their orders. Local organizers plan to use that information against the country, which they refused to identify.

"If they can't convince us the information we have is wrong, they won't be getting tickets," said Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) Executive Vice-President David Cobb.

Other groups with advanced access to tickets include international sports federations involved in the competitions and corporate sponsors.

VANOC has taken a number of steps to crack down on the scalping of the sought-after Olympic tickets, which it said on Wednesday will now go on sale to the general public on October 3, a week earlier than organizers had first expected.

Tickets for the various events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, are expected to generate about C$24 million ($24.4 million) for the Vancouver organization.

($1=$0.98 Canadian)

("Countdown to Beijing Olympics" blog at blogs.reuters.com/china)