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Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Friday, 25 March 2011

London 2012: Russia adopts voucher system for tickets

By Alexandra Semyonova
BBC Russian

London Olympic stadium
London Olympic stadium will host the opening ceremony

Tickets for the 2012 Olympic Games were made available worldwide on 15 March, and our reporter in Moscow tested the Russian ticketing system first hand.

This follows our report into the problems facing Brazilians trying to get tickets for London's Games.

Prices for the London Olympics start at 9,000 roubles (roughly £150) which, given the average salary of a Moscow resident is 43,000 roubles, means even the most modestly priced tickets are financially beyond many Russians.

Tickets for the Games' opening and closing ceremonies are 100,000 roubles. You would expect to pay 200,000 roubles for an old car in Moscow, so I think I'll be watching the ceremonies on TV.

Still, I thought I could probably plan a small London vacation for the Olympics and watch one of the sessions in person, such as the gymnastics.

Russia is of course preparing to stage its own Olympic Games in 2014, hosting the Winter Olympics for the first time in Sochi. London 2012 tickets are being distributed in Russia with the help of the Sochi 2014 organising committee.

Following a selection process, KASSIR.RU - an internet business selling tickets for theatres, concerts and exhibitions - was chosen as the official agent for ticket distribution in Russia.

I make a quick phone call to them and am told that the only way to make a purchase is through an online request.

So I go online.

When I go to purchase my tickets, I find the process is not a straightforward one. The company doesn't sell Olympic tickets - it sells Olympic ticket vouchers.

These are certificates guaranteeing that you will get your ticket in special change points in London, from 15 July until 12 August 2012. The details about places and times will be announced later.

You may change your voucher only if you have an ID. The KASSIR.RU website advises that all spectators that purchase stand alone tickets, (tickets without travel and/or accommodation packages), must obtain their own UK entry visa and arrange their own flights and accommodation.

There are five price categories and the cheapest tickets are for events such as a water polo group match. The most expensive tickets are for the closing ceremony - 100,350 roubles, which equates to over £2,000.

The first step is to choose from the list of sports on the left hand side of the web-page. I then submit my personal details: name, date of birth, contact details etc.

Once I confirm I am a Russian citizen I get to choose which sporting event I would like tickets for. I specify the date, ticket category and numbers of tickets needed. The navigation of the web-page is easy and clear.

That's it. Now I'm waiting for the call - I'll be told if I got the voucher and when and where I'll be able to pick it up.

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see also
2012 ticket difficulties in Brazil
18 Mar 11 |  London 2012

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