World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said Monday that the tickets for the Paris Olympics are “expensive” and pleaded for the families of athletes to be given priority by organisers.
Coe, who was chief organiser of the 2012 London Olympics, said in a conference call with news agencies including AFP that he was concerned athletes’ families could miss out on the greatest moment of their careers at next year’s Games.
“It is my responsibility to make sure our sport is delivered in as good an environment as possible and that the French organising committee do everything they can to fill those stadiums even though the ticket prices are, as we know, expensive,” Coe said.
“We have to accept for all sorts of reasons that Paris will be the most expensive Games both for the international federations but also for the fans.
“Our concern will always be that we want fans in the stadiums watching the events that are at affordable prices and that allow us to grow our sport, and particularly when it comes to the athletes themselves and their families,” he added.
“It think it is important that families are considered when those athletes, in whichever sport, get to a major championships.
“It is what we have always tried to do as best as possible in World Athletics.”
The most expensive tickets currently available for the athletics sessions at the Olympics are priced at 980 euros ($1,070), though tickets for other sessions are available for 90 euros.
Coe said organisers faced a complex balancing act to ensure that the Olympics, which start on July 26 and end on August 11, were safe but not conducted in a security “lockdown”.
“I want the Games to be successful, and as somebody who has delivered an Olympic Games I am critically aware that it is a very complex piece of project management that demands the collective work of a whole range of stakeholders, including government agencies and intelligence services. It is complicated,” said the double Olympic gold medallist.
Coe said he wished Paris chief organiser Tony Estanguet and his team “the very best of luck”.
“Ultimately we want the Games to be safe and secure and not delivered in a lockdown atmosphere,” Coe said.
“These are the challenges of an Olympic Games. I am sure Paris will be the equal of all those challenges.”
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