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Lord Coe fears fans and athletes could be priced out of 2024 Paris Olympics


World Athletics president Lord Coe fears fans – and athletes – could be priced out of next summer’s Olympics in Paris.

Coe is concerned over sky-high costs, with tickets for an athletics session at the Stade de France costing as much as £850 on the official Paris 2024 website. The cheapest admission for an evening session is £170.

Athletics remains the number one Olympic sport and, after sell-out crowds at August’s World Championships in Budapest, Coe is mindful of the costs.

“These are going to be the most expensive ticket prices in an athletics arena that we have witnessed at an Olympic Games,” he said. “We asked for a balance.

These are difficult balances for any organising committee, but if I am wearing my World Athletics hat, I don’t want fans being costed out of the stadium and I certainly don’t want athletes and their families being costed out of the stadium

Lord Coe

“The most important element here is you want fans in the stadium, you want fans within affordable prices. I know the challenge on a budget – 25 per cent of our budget in London was tickets.

“Our ticket strategy was built three years before the Games. We knew more about our fans at the end of that. We had some expensive tickets in there but we also had a lot at affordable prices.

“These are difficult balances for any organising committee, but if I am wearing my World Athletics hat, I don’t want fans being costed out of the stadium and I certainly don’t want athletes and their families being costed out of the stadium.

“If you look over the course of an athlete’s career, there are very few athletes that are able to sit down and say they got in commercialsponsorship more than what their families put in.

“Most are sitting there at the end of a 15-year career and saying it was my families that bore the brunt of what I did, in terms of funding time, commitment and all the things. I want to be respectful for them, so that’s the challenge.

“We have made the point that these prices are lumpy. In Budapest we had very affordable price tickets. Tokyo (2025 World Championships) we will make sure we get the same as well.

“There are always going to be premium tickets, but it is important that our stadiums are full of people that love our sport, not people that can afford to get to an Olympics.”

Coe also said his vote for BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Tuesday evening would go to world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who regained her title in Budapest after recovering from a serious Achilles injury.

The 30-year-old has been shortlisted along with England goalkeeper Mary Earps, former cricketer Stuart Broad, jockey Frankie Dettori, tennis player Alfie Hewett and golfer Rory McIlroy, but Coe felt there should also have been a spot for 1500m world champion Josh Kerr.

“It’s a world championship,” Coe said. “Of course I’m going to say this, but this isn’t being remotely disparaging about anyone else on that list. That’s not my issue.

“The issue is that there are two truly global sports; one is football, one is track and field. Both Katarina and Josh Kerr won a world championship in one of the most fiercely competitive sports on the planet.

“Do I think there was room for both of them on that list? Of course I do. There is only Katarina Johnson-Thompson, so of course I’m going to say, as the president of World Athletics, I would be voting for her, because she’s a world champion, it was an extraordinary comeback, and she won a global world championship.”



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