My heart bleeds for Olympian Boris minus tickets

Labour Party

While I hold no candle for Boris Johnson or for those who can gain free entry to sporting events, I do find it faintly bizarre that the Mayor of London failed to secure any tickets to the 2012 Olympic Games from his personal application.

Could this be Bonkers Boris claiming to be one of us, the “people’s” mayor who, despite his position and his wealth, suffers the same strains and stresses as the rest of us? Or is it one of the world’s most shameless posers claiming his life is no different from other Londoner’s?

I simply cannot believe the Mayor of London will be ignored by all those corporate and other interests who will make it their business to invite their favourite movers and shakers to the Games. I would be very surprised indeed if the Mayor and Members of the GLA did not receive tickets from some source or other for some of the best Olympic events.

Come off it Boris. Your pseudo-upset “I’m a victim too” just isn’t working.

And while we’re on the subject of the Olympics, you will remember that those who were lucky enough to be able to buy a ticket to the Olympic Games had to  use a Visa debit, credit or pre paid card for their purchases. And that the only card the retail outlets at the Games will be allowed to use is Visa. Visa does, of course, have a complete monopoly, which is surely wrong for any organisation, even if it is a major sponsor.

Sadly the European Commission, charged with monitoring the EU’s strict competition rules who claimed to be concerned about the Visa monopoly at the 2012 Olympics, have done nothing to resolve the situation. I blogged earlier that I had put down a Question in the European Parliament on this issue. Obviously no luck this time, though I do not intend to give up on this one just yet.

Visa monopoly over Olympics is not a game

Commission, Olympics

I read with dismay this week at the Olympic Committee’s decision that only fans who use a Visa debit, credit or pre paid card will be permitted to make ticket purchases.

Visa will also have exclusivity inside the village so that any purchases made or money withdrawn from cash points will only be permitted if using the Visa system of payment, or cash.

It will come as no surprise that Visa is one of the major sponsors of the Olympics. Suffice to say I am shocked that both the Olympic Committee and Visa believe they can get away with this.

It is utterly outrageous, and there are two immediate issues which I am particularly concerned about.

First there is the obvious problem it causes for consumers; the whole experience will not be something that everyone can enjoy but it will become exclusive to just those who use the Visa method of payment or are prepared to carry enough cash around to cover all eventualities.

Second, and this is a potentially very serious issue, are the anti-competition implications which could be very embarrassing for our country.  I know that the European Commission, charged with monitoring the EU’s strict competition rules, is concerned about the Visa monopoly at the 2012 Olympics.  

I have, in fact, tabled an  Oral Question to the European Commission on this issue.  The Question will now not go forward until September and I will keep you informed of any developments between now and then.