Commonwealth Games medallist Lynsey Sharp has lashed out after she was slapped with a £560 bill for tickets her close family used to watch her compete.
The track star, who won a silver medal at the Games and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics in London, yesterday revealed Team Scotland officials had invoiced her the huge bill after she secured seats for her family at the heats, semi-final and final last year.
The 24-year-old was forced to shell out up to £40 each to ensure her mum, sister and dad could watch her bag the silver medal for Scotland – and, like other athletes competing in the Games, was given only two free tickets from Games sponsors SSE throughout her time competing.
The news comes as public spending watchdog the Accounts Commission revealed the Commonwealth Games had cost taxpayers £37 million less than was initially budgeted.
Sharp said: “It’s not a mistake – that’s actually what I have to pay. It seems a lot, especially since they have said it was £37m under budget.
“We were given two tickets for the first round free, but that was from SSE. I can see that, obviously, if they were to give everybody free tickets it would be a lot of money.
“But I think that – considering the games were so much under budget, and the fact that they would not have happened if not for the athletes – they could have made the tickets trade price at least. We have to pay full price.”
Sharp isn’t the only athlete to face a large outlay after bringing their family along to see them compete for their country.
Amateur boxer Josh Taylor, from Prestonpans, said he paid £360 for his mum, dad, little sister and girlfriend to be able to watch him win the gold medal at the final in Glasgow.
The 24-year-old said: “I thought it was quite bad the way they did the tickets for the athletes. I had two tickets for free for my first fight, but my family probably spent about £700 on tickets for the full two weeks.
“I don’t think all of my tickets should have been free, but I think I should have been given two or three tickets for my family every time I boxed – that’s what I got at the Olympics, and it meant my family could share them about.
“It’s not cheap. We were a wee bit angry at the time, but my family wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
They would have paid any money.”
Jon Doig, chief executive of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said athletes were given “guaranteed access” to buy up to four tickets for friends and family for the sports they were competing in.
He said: “In addition, Games sponsor SSE generously provided a further two free tickets to all home country athletes including Scotland.
“Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) purchased the tickets on behalf of the 310 athletes on the team and athletes then paid for the tickets they had ordered.
“CGS is funded through sponsorship and fundraising activities and whilst we would have liked to have given free tickets to athletes, our priority is always to ensure that we can fund the preparation and participation of the team at the Games, giving all athletes the best possible chance of medal success.”