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Olympic officials can't help scam victims -

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ELEANOR HALL: As we heard, the president of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, says
there are no tickets left in the Australian Olympic ticket allocation, even for those parents of
Olympians who were duped by the online ticketing scam.

Mr Coates says he has great sympathy for anyone caught up in the scam, but that Australians were
warned there was only one official Olympic ticket seller.

The AOC chief held a press conference a short time ago in Beijing, Olympics reporter Karen Barlow
was there and joins us now.

Karen what did John Coates say about this scam ticketing site, which as we've just been hearing is
still operating?

KAREN BARLOW: Well as for the Australians who have been duped he says that he has as you say great
sympathy, he says it's a great pity, but the Australians, the member sports, the members of the
public were warned months and months ago, in fact February 2007.

The word got out that there was only one official ticket seller, that's CoSport and that anyone
seeking tickets elsewhere should know the risks. So Australians were warned as he said and this is
what he had to say a short time ago.

JOHN COATES: So far as I am concerned we said this was our authorised, our official, all of those
words, we've made it quite clear. We can't be expected I'm afraid to go over the net and find the
sites that might be misleading I'm afraid. We just don't have that ability.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the president of the Australian Olympic Committee John Coates. So it sounds as
though he's not even trying to find tickets for the parents of Olympians?

KAREN BARLOW: Well in short Eleanor the AOC can't do much, they say they can't step in, they can't
compensate and they can't find substitute tickets. The AOC chief is in charge of the Australian
team only, all he can do is encourage CoSport to do something for the parents of the softballers
and this is what he indicated he can do for them a short time ago.

JOHN COATES: Well the only thing is we have said to CoSport through you know, is there anyway you
can see if you can find some tickets for other countries for which you act? Whether the demand say
for softball hasn't been taken up, if that was the case we would direct those, seek to make those
tickets available for those parents.

Well there's nothing at the moment, we've put in the request. CoSport had no tickets left so they
have to go and scrounge; no tickets from our allocation, they have to go and scrounge and see what
they can do elsewhere.

ELEANOR HALL: A fairly discouraged sounding John Coates. Now Karen there were blues skies over
Beijing on the weekend, but I understand that's not the case today?

KAREN BARLOW: Yeah there were lovely blue skies over the weekend surprising and pleasing all, you
can even see the mountains which surround Beijing. But a day is a long time with the opening
ceremony five days away, it's a long time away.

So basically we have smog city again. Visibility is back to one kilometre and I suspect the Chinese
organisers are looking again at what further pollution control measures they can bring in so close
to the opening ceremony; perhaps more cars off the road, more factories closed.

You know we'd heard that possibly it was up to 90 per cent of the cars off the road if it got
really bad. It doesn't look very good outside today.

ELEANOR HALL: And on another touchy issue the president of the European Parliament has apparently
encouraged Olympic athletes to demonstrate against China's human rights abuses. Did John Coates
have anything to say about that this morning?

KAREN BARLOW: He certainly did, he repeated what he's been saying for a while. He says he respects
the athletes right to protest, but athletes can say what they like on blogs and in press
conferences such as what we were just in, but he says that the athletes should support the IOC
rules that say no protest, no banners and no flags at the village or in the venue.

So no, John Coates does not support the president of the European Parliament and this is what he
had to say on that matter.

JOHN COATES: The Games is meant to be a friendly atmosphere, we're to create a friendly atmosphere
between the athletes of 205 countries, particularly in the Olympic village and there could be many
causes that would anger many countries if everyone was allowed to wear t-shirts and wave "get out
of Iraq" signs and direct them at Australia or the USA.

We are as nationalist as anyone, and I think some of our athletes might react to that just as the
Chinese might be entitled to react. So I think that what we've allowed is a sensible opportunity
for athletes to express their personal views on these matters.

ELEANOR HALL: The president of the Australian Olympic Committee John Coates at a press conference
in Beijing a short time ago, our Olympics report Karen Barlow there.