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Irish fans could face Olympics tickets turmoil for Tokyo

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

10:39 6 Nov 2019


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Huge demand for Olympics tickets in the host country, Japan, has led to concerns that travelling fans and even athletes' families will struggle to attend events at Tokyo 2020. 

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) says it is unable to guarantee athletes' ticket requests.

“There will be some cases where people don’t get the tickets that they want and that will include athletes’ families,” said Peter Sherrard, chief executive officer of the OFI in the Irish Times today.

“That’s difficult to say, but I think we’re better off saying it. We’re doing our level best, and doing it the right way. We are micro-focused in how we deal with the athletes when they come into us, but it won’t always be possible to meet them all.”

Athletes across all sports will get two tickets each for every event they compete in. The exception are the swimmers, who only get one for each round.

Following the dramatic qualification of the women's hockey team last weekend, each player will get a pair of tickets to each game. The allocation for Ireland will only be 80 tickets per game.

Demand

Host country Japan has been allotted 70% of the Olympics tickets. There has been such demand that they were oversubscribed when originally released during the summer.

Ireland's Olympics ticket allocation was also sold out in a matter of days, although that number was only 1,315. The delay in Boxing being included in the 2020 programme could make it easier to attend.

The boxing seats are yet to go on sale. Ireland will have an allocation of over 1000 Olympics tickets for boxing that will be made available next month.

The OFI want to avoid any ticket related embarrassment.

This follows the controversy over the body's former iteration, the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI). Former President Pat Hickey was arrested at the 2016 Rio games for alleged touting.

Since coming into effect, the OFI have announced a new authorised ticket reseller in Elämys Group. They are a Finnish travel company which also handles ticket sales for other Olympic federations.

OFI President Sarah Keane admitted the public perception of the association is still haunted by the 2016 debacle:

“We have looked at some figures around how the Olympic Federation of Ireland, and therefore those associated with it, are viewed by the Irish public. It’s fair to say we still have some work to do in that regard."

Qualified

Currently, there are three equestrian teams, four rowing boats and the women's hockey team qualified for the games. A further eight individual athletes have met the qualifying standard for Tokyo.

Keane is hopeful the size of the team will continue to grow.

“We’re hoping the [number of team members] could go as high as 100. With the women’s hockey now included, and depending if the men’s rugby sevens make it, but for now we’re probably looking at around 80.”

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