Report: UK using taxpayer money on tickets
The UK government spent nearly £750,000 ($1.2 million) of taxpayer money to secure itself thousands of tickets for next year's London Olympics, including premium seats for a host of sought-after events, Sky News reported Monday.
The outlay of state funds opened officials up to a fresh wave of criticism after more than a million people missed out on 2012 tickets in the lambasted original public ballot.
After already reserving 9,000 tickets, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) applied for and was allocated a further 8,846 tickets, a freedom of information request showed.
The allocation, which previously was withheld from the public, includes 213 tickets to the opening ceremony at a total price of £194,525, including 41 of the most expensive tickets, priced at £2012.12.
Officials also secured 143 tickets to the closing ceremony, at a cost of £71,490, while the department spent £33,085 on 257 track and field tickets and £26,600 on 411 beach volleyball tickets.
The DCMS allocation also includes 224 prized tickets for track cycling, which was hugely oversubscribed in the public ballot with Team GB expected to contest strongly for medals.
The government defended the allocation, saying the tickets handed to overseas dignitaries and potential business investors will benefit the British economy, while adding that department officials who have worked on various Olympic projects will pay for the remaining seats.