The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is investigating a media report that National Olympic Committees and Authorized Ticket Resellers, including Israel’s official ticket seller, broke rules over the sale of London 2012 tickets.
The IOC is also referring the allegations to its independent Ethics Commission, it said on its website on Saturday.
The early edition of the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper said several National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Authorized Ticket Resellers (ATRs) were willing to break the rules by offering to buy or sell tickets outside their territories, to sell tickets at inflated prices or sell tickets to unauthorized resellers.
According to the Sunday Times, former Israeli Olympic swimmer, Yoav Bruck, the CEO of Israeli travel agency Issta Sport – which is the sole authorized ticket seller for Olympic events for Israel and Cyprus – allegedly agreed to sell undercover reporters 525 tickets for 66,000 pounds.
Bruck, who represented Israel at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics, was one of 27 agents from at least 25 countries caught in the sting.
Issta Sport vehemently denied the allegations.
“This is a haphazard and unreliable journalistic investigation about Issta Sport marketing tickets for the Olympics according to its license in Cyprus,” Issta Sport said in a statement.
“The company works according to the rules and regulations of the organizing committee and zealously enforces them and will continue to do so in the future.
“The company never offered a service which is not within the framework of the rules and regulations of the International Olympic Committee, and all of its commercial actions are backed fully by the organizing committee.”
The Sunday Times claimed that thousands of tickets are being sold for up to 10 times their face value and the IOC tried to avoid a PR disaster by announcing that it will take a serious look into the allegations.
“On being informed of the allegations the IOC immediately convened an extraordinary meeting of its executive board and determined a number of actions – the convening of the Ethics Commission and asking for any evidence of wrongdoing to be provided to the Commission without delay,” said the IOC.
“The IOC takes these allegations very seriously. Should any irregularities be proven, the organization will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner.
“The NOCs are autonomous organizations but if any of the cases are confirmed, the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions,” it added.
More than a million London 2012 tickets were distributed to be sold across the world.
The IOC has strict rules to try to combat touts, with NOCs and ATRs only being allowed to sell their allocation within their own region.
Last month, a senior Ukrainian Olympic official resigned after being filmed by the BBC offering tickets for cash.