Poor ticket sales reports for the inaugural Athletics World Cup in London have been dismissed as “complete nonsense” by organisers.
The inaugural edition, which takes place July 14-15, will feature eight national teams based on world rankings, with each team entering one athlete per event. The event takes place on the same weekend as the FIFA World Cup final and Wimbledon singles finals.
Insiders told the Guardian that UK Athletics is struggling to fill the 50,000-seat London Stadium four times in eight days – first for the Athletics World Cup and then the Anniversary Games.
Guardian sources have reportedly also suggested that UKA would need to sell 32,000 tickets for the Athletics World Cup to break even.
However, UK Athletics’ chief executive, Niels de Vos said it was “complete nonsense” that ticket sales were slow.
“It’s not going to be Olympic standards with people hanging from the rafters but it’s pushing 30,000 for the Saturday and a little less on the Sunday,” he said.
Guardian sources reportedly say that the figure is closer to half that.
In addition, organisers said they are “unconcerned” that a number of top athletes have decided to give the competition a miss, the Guardian newspaper reports.
The British team is missing Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir, Reece Prescod, Zharnel Hughes and every one of Britain’s 4x100m gold medallists from last year’s world championships. Other top athletes from the US, Germany and China will also not be in attendance.
De Vos said: “It doesn’t concern me. We always knew that a couple of athletes wouldn’t be able to make it because they had signed contracts for Diamond League events. But the overall quality is going to be astonishing.
“Of the six teams that have been announced, there is 113 current Olympic or world medallists and 23 world or Olympic champions.”
Image: Clément Bucco-Lechat