UPDATE 1-Swimming-Richards urges IOC to help with tickets after parents scammed

do you not think it's time that you support the families of the people competing, by giving them tickets to the events that their family members are competing in?" Richards then apologised for the 'rant' but said he felt it was a really important subject.


Reuters | Updated: 16-06-2024 01:00 IST | Created: 16-06-2024 01:00 IST
UPDATE 1-Swimming-Richards urges IOC to help with tickets after parents scammed

Britain's Olympic freestyle gold medallist Matt Richards has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to do more to help families of competing athletes attend events at Paris 2024 after his parents lost money in an online ticket scam.

Richards took gold at Tokyo 2020 in the 4x200m freestyle relay and could be competing in six events this summer. He won individual 200m gold at the 2023 world championships in Fukuoka, Japan. "I do find it crazy that when competing at an Olympic Games, the families of the athletes have to source and fund tickets themselves," Richards posted in an Instagram story addressed to @Olympics.

"My family and I are looking at a bill of thousands of pounds spent on tickets, just to see me swim in a couple of sessions this summer. "Given that you won't pay the athletes who compete in the event (that creates billions every year in revenue) due to it 'not being the Olympic spirit'... do you not think it's time that you support the families of the people competing, by giving them tickets to the events that their family members are competing in?"

Richards then apologised for the 'rant' but said he felt it was a really important subject. "Seeing your family or friends compete at an Olympic Games shouldn't be reserved for the people that have thousands to spare, who can afford to come and watch," he added.

"I think it's time that (IOC president) Thomas Bach and the IOC start taking care of their athletes and not just their shareholders." Richards' mother Amanda told the BBC separately that the family had been scammed of 2,500 pounds ($3,170) by a ticket website that "looked perfectly legitimate".

They had been unable to afford tickets in the official ballot where only the most expensive were left by the time they got their turn. "We couldn't afford to buy tickets for everything he's swimming in but we wanted to be there for sort of the important ones, the semis and the finals, so we bought tickets for five evening events," she said of the scam.

We don't have masses of savings. We just don't have the money to be able to just buy another set of tickets. We're devastated... I was really upset. I feel like a fool." The IOC, in response to a Reuters request for comment, pointed to a recent statement by the executive board expressing "full support for fair financial rewards for athletes".

"At the Olympic Games, the athletes take part as members of the Olympic team of their respective NOCs (national committees). A significant majority of NOCs reward their team members for their achievements at the Olympic Games," it said. The IOC, a not-for-profit organisation, says it uses its revenues to support the long-term development of sport and athletes worldwide from the grassroots up.

($1 = 0.7885 pounds)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback