Gaddafi son gets ‘hundreds’ of 2012 Olympic tickets
Jonathan Harwood
JUNE 15, 2011


Members of Libyan regime could attend the Games along with officials from Burma, Zimbabwe and Fifa

More bad news for anyone who missed out in the Olympic ballot last month - the tickets you were after could have gone to the family and friends of the Libyan despot Col Gaddafi.

It is being reported that Libya has been awarded several hundred tickets to the London Games and that they are being distributed by Gaddafi's eldest son Muhammad, who also happens to be head of the Libyan Olympic Committee.

The situation could prove highly embarrassing if Gaddafi is still in power next year and decides to make a political point by sending senior members of his regime to the Games.

However, there is little that the organisers of the London Games can do as they are obliged to provide tickets to any country that is a member of the International Olympic Committee and asks for them. The organisers of the London Games refused to say what events the Libyan Olympic Committee had been given tickets to.

Even though Libya has become an international pariah and is being bombed by Nato it is still a member of the IOC. A spokesman for the international body explained that members were only suspended "when they are not able to function any more because of government interference."

Around 1 million of the 8.8 million tickets have gone to IOC members. They can either be sold on to fans or "allocated internally". The fear is that Gaddafi Jnr may decide to distribute tickets to his family and members of the regime, who will then be free to travel to London to watch the Games.

There are even concerns that Gaddafi's supporters could travel on special "Olympic visas", introduced last month to make it easier for foreign officials, athletes and coaches to attend the Games.

In London Gaddafi's supporters could find themselves rubbing shoulders with the likes of Robert Mugabe and General Than Shwe. Zimbabwe and Burma are among the 200 or so countries that have asked for tickets. The organisers are probably relieved that Syria passed up the opportunity to attend.

The rogues gallery of unpopular guests at the Olympics is also likely to include Sepp Blatter. Fifa officials have been given tickets to some of the biggest events.

Sadly for villain-spotters, Col Gaddafi himself is unlikely to attend. He is subject to an international travel ban and an ICC arrest warrant.

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