Commonwealth ticket anger: 100 diving seats empty

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COMMONWEALTH Games fans were furious after scores of sought-after seats were left empty by officials and sponsors at the opening diving session in the Capital.

There were glaring gaps in the crowd at the Royal Commonwealth Pool despite thousands applying for the popular event when tickets – priced £25-£50 – first went on sale last year.

There were plenty of empty seats at the diving event. Picture: Greg Macvean

There were plenty of empty seats at the diving event. Picture: Greg Macvean

The intimate venue – which can hold just over 500 – was way below capacity with about 20 per cent of seats unoccupied at the “sold out” morning session.

City officials have demanded improvements to how tickets are allocated after the false start at the only event being staged in the Capital.

The disappointment was not confined to fans, with finalist James Heatly admitting friends had been unable to get tickets for the preliminary 1m springboard session.

Family – including three-time gold medallist grandad Sir Peter Heatly – cheered him on from the VIP area while others had to watch it on TV.

There were a number of empty seats. Picture: Greg Macvean

There were a number of empty seats. Picture: Greg Macvean

Relatives of gold medallist Jack Laugher, who travelled from Ripon, North Yorkshire, said his “diving masterclass” was marred by the morning ticket fiasco.

“Once we knew our son would be competing we were chasing seats. I was online for nine hours trying to get tickets,” said mum Jackie.

“It’s disappointing when you see empty seats, especially when there are places you can’t see properly from. It’s a lovely pool but dreadful for spectators.”

Under Games rules, the host nation must give tickets to international sports federations, governing bodies and officials.

Glasgow 2014 bosses committed a minimum of 70 per cent of all tickets available to the public for every session.

The majority of no-shows were blamed on sports organisations and sponsors not taking up their tickets and failing to inform pool bosses so they could be reallocated.

The few public seats where people failed to show were snapped up within hours of going on re-sale.

There was a similar outcry at London 2012 after glaring gaps were spotted at events.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, the city’s festivals and events champion, said: “It is disappointing as these seats could have been sold or even given to schoolchildren. It doesn’t look good.”

A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said steps had been taken to ensure spare tickets went to the public.

“We are obliged to hold reserved seating for client groups such as media, Games family, athletes and team officials. Some of these seats had not been taken up and we have now made more of them available to the public.”