The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) has hit back at allegations that its president, Spyros Capralos, is involved in a black market ticket scandal currently enveloping the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The HOC has responded after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened an investigation over the weekend into allegations that National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and official agents were willing to sell thousands of London 2012 tickets on the black market. Among its claims, the Sunday Times newspaper reported that Capralos said he had “pulled strings” with London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe to obtain extra tickets for premium events on the basis that demand in Greece had outstripped expectations.
The paper said Capralos admitted that demand had been very low in reality, and that the tickets were actually sold on to people outside Greece for profit. London 2012’s organising committee, LOCOG, strongly denied these allegations by stating that Coe had told the Greek NOC that tickets were allocated in line with IOC policy and the HOC has now responded calling the allegations “untrue and misleading”.
The HOC has outlined that its ticket sales have been handled by the Marcus Evans agency, adding in a statement: “The whole process was totally transparent and in accordance with the laws of the Greek State. Therefore, there can be no issue on creating a ‘black market’ by the HOC which did not buy any tickets, whatsoever. The journalists of the Sunday Times, violating all principles of journalistic ethics, pretended to be representatives of a ticket selling company, and had even created a fake webpage. The whole discussion concerned the Winter Olympic Games Sochi 2014.”
The statement continued: “The video recording was made with a hidden camera, in a misleading way too, while the publishing of the statements of the HOC president, Mr Spyros Capralos was fragmentary and a patchwork of answers, made in a way that served the authors of the article. Even in the published statements of the HOC president – which we would like to stress once more that they are a product of a patchwork – as every reader can notice, there is nothing reproachable. On the contrary, the way of operating and the allocation of the tickets of the Olympic Games is explained.”
Concerning the allegations surrounding London 2012 tickets, the HOC said the “direct and flat contradiction” of the issue by LOCOG provided a “clear answer”. The Committee added: “To conclude, the Hellenic Olympic Committee would like to underline that it reserves all legal rights in order to protect itself from such immoral attacks in the future.”