London Olympics withdraws 500,000 soccer tickets due to lack of interest
The organisers of the London Olympics conceded defeat Wednesday in selling all the tickets for the soccer tournament as they revealed plans to slash the capacity of some stadiums.
Organisers LOCOG said more than one million tickets were left unsold, but that figure has been cut in half by reducing capacity at venues including the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The changes mean that for the soccer tournament, 250,000 tickets are currently available.
In addition to this, a further 200,000 soccer tickets are due to go on sale after being returned by Olympics committees from around the world.
The top tiers of stadiums will be curtained off to hide the empty seats.
A spokesman for LOCOG said: “We are planning to reduce capacity across the venues by up to 500,000 tickets across the tournament.
“This will involve possibly not using a tier, or an area of a ground, in some of the venues.
“This can apply to men’s and women’s football, if necessary.”
A total of 700,000 Olympics tickets are yet to be sold, with 50,000 available for other sports as well as a soon-to-be-returned set of 200,000.
Chief organiser Sebastian Coe insisted on Tuesday that ticket sales were “not in bad shape” despite LOCOG being forced to cut the size of stadiums.
Coe said: “They are in reduced-size venues, of course. We have scaled down the size of those venues.
“We’ve sold more football tickets than we’ve sold for anything else.
“We’re not in bad shape on tickets. It was always going to be that football tickets were the challenge but I think we’ll do pretty well.”
Coe admitted though that the heavy rain in recent weeks in Britain was proving “quite a challenge” as the Games edge nearer.
“This is a challenge,” he said. “I have joked in the past about putting a roof across the whole country. But, let’s be clear — this is actually proving quite a challenge to us.
“We have got waterlogged sites, resurfacing that is taking place in some areas, particularly in some of the more sensitive and rural sites, Greenwich Park and Eton Dorney.
“We’re laying down a trackway and services for spectators and vehicles now and through the Games. Now we are building additional shelters for our workforce.
“At the risk of sounding a little bit like a father about to issue their kids off on an outward-bound trip, let me make the obvious point that we are a northern European country.
“People do need to be wearing the right footwear, the right rain-proof clothing and sun-screen.”