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Commission clears ticketing arrangements for the Athens Olympic Games

European Commission - IP/03/738   23/05/2003

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IP/03/738

Brussels, 23 May 2003

Commission clears ticketing arrangements for the Athens Olympic Games

The European Commission has taken the view that the arrangements regarding the sale of tickets for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens are in line with European Union competition rules. The arrangements, which were notified by organising committee ATHOC, foresee various sales channels for tickets for residents in the European Economic Area (EEA)(1). For the first time residents in the EEA will be able to purchase tickets directly from ATHOC through the Internet. EEA residents will also be able to purchase tickets through any of the National Olympic Committees or their appointed agent(s). Consumers can already now apply for tickets as the first phase of the ticket sales has just started.

The organising committee for the Olympic Games in Athens, ATHOC, sought reassurance from the Commission that its ticketing arrangements for the 2004 Games were in line with European Union competition rules.

This is the first time the Commission has scrutinised ticketing arrangements for the Olympic Games.

After careful examination of the arrangements and discussions between ATHOC and the Commission with a view to safeguard consumer interest and compliance with competition rules, ATHOC modified the ticketing arrangements in respect of the modalities for Internet sales as well as sales by National Olympic Committees in the EEA by allowing them to sell tickets below face value, if they so wish. As a result of such modifications, the Commission has come to the conclusion that on the basis of the information available, the ticketing arrangements do not breach the EU competition rules.

The Commission welcomes the fact that for the first time residents in the EEA will be able to purchase tickets directly from ATHOC through the Internet. EEA residents will also be able to purchase tickets through any of the National Olympic Committees or their appointed agent(s). For further information on the ticketing arrangements, see the Athens 2004 website:

http://www.athens2004.com

Events such as the Olympic Games, and particularly the World Cup or the European football championships are very popular and draw crowds not just from the country which is organising the event, but from all over the world. Non-residents need to be able to book them in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.

In the past, the Commission has examined the ticketing arrangements for other sports events. In the case of the 1998 World Cup in France, the Commission found that the French organising committee had abused its dominant position by indirectly discriminating on ground of nationality. The French organising committee had imposed a condition on its ticket sales whereby the consumers outside France could buy tickets only on condition that they provide a postal address in France to which the tickets could be delivered.

(1) The 15 European Union states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.


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