The news coming out today is that stadiums are having their capacities reduced for the Olympic football (mens and womens) tournaments, and there are well over 500,000 tickets unsold so far for these matches. There are possibly a few reasons for this, the cost, the locations and times of the matches, not knowing who you would be seeing play in anything past the first round, the total lack of enthusiasm among almost everyone I know about Team GB Football and the non-inclusion of Beckham in the GB Squad all having an impact.
The desire for international football is usually high in England, so I feel that the confusion over Team GB and odd national identity crisis that this causes is one of the main reasons, but also the total fiasco that has been the entire ticketing process from start to finish has not helped. What also struck me as odd is all the extra security and restrictions that are associated with the tickets, far in excess of what there is in place for any other football matches that we attend on a usual weekend in the UK. While this wouldn't necessarily put someone off attending, I think for people wavering it definitely would tip the scales against attending.
Either way, and whatever the reason for this, to simply remove the tickets from sale seems to be an absolute madness to me. Why can't we return to the good old days (of about 5 years ago...) when you could decide on the day to go to football and turn up and buy a ticket on the turnstile? Surely there would be some people on the day in Manchester on realising that the game is Spain v Brazil would ring a few mates and pop down?
If not, surely giving the tickets to local football leagues, youth teams and players is a better idea than just blocking off half the stadium? For games that are no where near sold out it is not like they are going to create a black market in them is it? All of the organisers of these local leagues would be easy to contact and ticket distribution simple as it is all local, and the people targeted would be football fans by definition.
So much talk about a legacy from the games and getting people involved and engaged and such a simple idea, common and sense need to come together on this one.