G4S pulled into empty Olympic seating scandal

AN INVESTIGATION into unfulfilled Olympic tickets will be launched by the Games’ organising committee after rows of seats were left empty this weekend and G4S admitted it had banned employees from attending, despite having supplied them with tickets.

The troubled firm said yesterday that its staff would not be able to enjoy the tickets they had been given, with employees stretched as the company struggles to provide the guards needed for the Games. As an Olympic sponsor, G4S was able to give its staff corporate tickets.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) yesterday denied that the empty seats were the fault of sponsors, saying they were instead left by accredited personnel including officials and members of the media.

Other accredited staff at the Games, including soldiers providing security following G4S’s shortfall, were offered seats yesterday.

Yesterday Jeremy Hunt suggested that empty seats should be allocated to the public. The culture secretary said: “If [the sponsors] are not going to turn up, we want those tickets to be available for members of the public. We are looking at this very urgently at the moment.”

A G4S spokesman said: “The intention was to give our allocation to our staff, but since the numbering issues they are now working flat out on the contract.”

The security firm caused a stir earlier in the month when it revealed that it would not be able to provide the promised 10,400 guards needed to safeguard the Games, with the government bringing in thousands of troops to make up for the deficit.

Locog said yesterday it was looking at a number of ways to fill empty seats, including releasing extra tickets and upgrading members of the public to accredited seats.