This came up during Starred Questions in the House of Lords on Thursday. Lord Addington asked a question about the Olympic Games and during the subsequent debate Lord Howard of Rising asked:
My Lords, could the Minister say what action has been taken to ensure that genuine sports fans can obtain tickets for the 2012 Olympics as they have been able to in Vancouver?To which Lord Davies of Oldham replied:
That is a very important point. We are concerned about the affordability of tickets in order that all can participate in the Games and not just thowe who can afford the sometimes very high prices at certain major events. We will not be able to do exactly what the South Africans did because the World Cup allows the country to dictate its own terms for the sale fo tickets. We are governmed by Olympic rules - the International Olympic Committee - and we cannot give favours to British people over Europeans because of our membership of the European Community.Well might noble Lords say "Oh!", the strongest expression of shock allowed to them in the Chamber. Lord Davies then tried to shift his ground:
And therefore we are concerned to have a large number of tickets at a low prices, as it was quite clear from the planning for the Games that that will encourage the fullest participation of our people.The damage was done; he had admitted the truth. Whether HMG can or cannot encourage the availability of tickets at a low price there is no reason to suppose that it will encourage "the fullest participation of our people" since there can be no discrimination in favour of "our people".
Well now you know.