Steve Beauchampé offers a partial solution to unsold seats at the Olympic Football Tournament.
It seems perfectly reasonable to offer unsold or unused Olympic tickets to youth and sports clubs, students, volunteers or even those working on Games security (for use in their rest periods, naturally). Equally, it should be made easier for members of the public to purchase tickets as Olympic Games fever takes hold (e.g. drop the requirement for on-line or telephone purchasers to use a Visa Card).
The sport with the most unsold seats is football, which is being staged at five venues outside London. Although interest in both the Men’s and Women’s competition has picked up, there are still likely to be many thousands of spaces at the football venues over the next 7-10 days. It was obvious at least a year ago that this would probably be the case, so why didn’t organisers open prominently located temporary ticket offices in the centre of each host city (rather than just at the stadiums) a month or so ago, taking advantage of the excitement generated by the torch relay?
They didn’t and it’s probably too late now, so let’s offer unwanted football tickets to the unemployed; two per person (take a relative or friend), on presentation of the relevant documentation. It won’t cost the state a penny, and might just brighten – if briefly – the lives of those paying the highest price for an economic crisis not of their making, the unfortunate people whose factories, shops or offices closed or who studied hard and worked their way through the education system only to find that the hoped for jobs which some earlier generations took for granted had evaporated.
And it would make a change from pillorying them, an activity at which some politicians and sections of the British media could win a gold medal.