700,000 tickets for London 2012 still not on sale

LONDON 2012 chiefs have admitted that hundreds of thousands of tickets remain unsold and 400,000 are yet to even go on sale with just nine days to go until the Olympics start.

The startling confession raises the prospect of empty seats despite previously overwhelming demand, as time is running out for spaces to be filled before the Games get underway in the capital next week.

Some 500,000 tickets for football have been taken off the market altogether, with stadia set to operate at reduced capacities, as the competition has proved far less popular with buyers than anticipated.

In total 700,000 tickets are still available over the entirety of the Games, which officially begin on Friday 27 July, although the football tournament starts two days earlier.

Of that figure, 300,000 are currently on sale via the official website, of which 250,000 are for football. Another 400,000 – half for football and half for a wide range of other events – are due to be released gradually in the next few days.

The 200,000 tickets for events other than football have yet to be released because they have only recently been returned by National Olympic Committees. Sports available include beach volleyball, wrestling, basketball and sailing.

Organisers told City A.M. last night that there was no chance of remaining tickets being reduced in order to fill venues as it would be “unfair” on those who purchased their seats at full price months ago.

Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and Glasgow’s Hampden Park will be among those to have large areas of seating covered for some games due to lack of demand.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe insists tickets sales are “not in bad shape”, adding: “We have scaled down the size of venues.”

Meanwhile legacy chiefs have confirmed that plans for a Formula One grand prix are among those to be shortlisted for the Olympic Stadium after the Games. Football clubs West Ham and Leyton Orient, who have strongly objected to the Hammers moving to Stratford, and the University College of Football Business are the other parties to have bid to use the stadium.