London 2012 has 1.5 million soccer seats to fill

London: Some 1.5 million Olympic soccer tickets remained unsold on Sunday after the end of the first phase of London 2012`s `second-chance` offering in Britain.

Organisers said the only tickets still available were for men`s and women`s soccer matches, volleyball and freestyle wrestling.

The soccer tickets were always going to be the hardest to shift, with 1.7 million of them available before the second round of sales kicked off on June 24.

Fans wanting to sample the London 2012 atmosphere have snapped up tickets to anything in the Olympic Park itself but many of the soccer matches are being held in stadiums hundreds of kilometres from the capital.

While Britain intends to enter a united team for the first time since 1960, the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish associations have opposed their players taking part.

Organisers said tickets remained for matches in Coventry, Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester as well as London`s Wembley Stadium.

The second-chance offering allowed more than a million fans who failed to land tickets in an initial ballot in March and April to try again on a first-come, first-served basis.

More than 750,000 tickets had been sold to nearly 150,000 successful applicants in that second phase, organisers said. More than 3.5 million tickets have been sold in total in Britain.

The next phase starting on July 8 and ending on July 17 will give a second chance to the 700,000 applicants who managed to buy at least some tickets in the ballot.

Apart from the soccer, there will be some 40,000 tickets still up for grabs for sessions of the men`s and women`s volleyball at the cavernous Earls Court arena and 8,000 seats for the wrestling.

A quarter of the two-billion-pound ($3.2-billion) operating budget for the staging of the Games is expected to come from ticket sales, including those to corporate sponsors.

Of the total 6.6 million tickets earmarked for the British public, more than a million have been withheld for contingency reasons and will go on sale next year once venues have been tested and licensed.

Bureau Report

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