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Anger at empty seats for diving events in Edinburgh despite ticket sell-out

SCORES of seats at the only Commonwealth Games event to be held in Edinburgh have been left empty despite the event being a sell-out.

England's Jack Laugher during the 3m springboard final at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh

TV footage and tweets showed the vacant viewing spots for diving at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, despite thousands of fans applying for the event when tickets priced between £25 and £50 went on sale last year.

Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley is scheduled to compete at the diving today.

The sight of empty seats has angered relatives of competitors in the event, although Glasgow 2014 played down the situation, suggesting it only involved a small number reserved for the media and athletes.

Margaret McCormick, mother of Canadian Riley McCormick, the two-time diving Olympian, tweeted: "Sorry to once again see empty seats at a 'sold out" event. When will Games get it right?"

Katy Mears, mother of Chris Mears, the Team England diver, added yesterday: "Anyone know why the diving has so many empty seats for a sell-out venue? Galling for parents who struggled to get tickets."

Diving fan Jiordan Murphy said: "Find it shocking at the amount of empty seats at the diving - three times I applied and three times I was told no."

The problem first arose on Wednesday, but fans posted pictures on Twitter yesterday of more empty spaces.

Scots diving finalist James Heatly complained that his friends had been unable to get tickets for his preliminary 1m springboard session on Wednesday. The diver's relatives - including his three-time gold medallist grandfather Sir Peter Heatly - cheered him on from the VIP area, while others had to watch on TV.

He had been hoping that competing at home would help him at his first attempt to follow in his grandfather's footsteps.

Sir Peter Heatly, who was the first person to use the original diving boards at the pool, was the Scottish diving champion for 12 years from 1946, during which he won three Commonwealth gold medals.

Relatives of gold medallist Jack Laugher, who travelled from Ripon, North Yorkshire, said his "diving masterclass" was spoiled by the ticket issues.

"Once we knew our son would be competing we were chasing seats. I was online for nine hours trying to get tickets," his mother Jackie said on Wednesday.

"It's disappointing when you see empty seats, especially when there are places you can't see properly from. It's a lovely pool but dreadful for spectators."

Under Games rules, the host nation must give tickets to international sports federations, governing bodies and officials.

Glasgow 2014 bosses had ­previously pledged a "simple and accessible" ticketing process and promised that at least 70% of all tickets to all sporting events would be available to the public.

There was a similar outcry at London 2012 after huge sections of empty seats were spotted at events.

Announcing the ticketing programme, Glasgow 2014 ­chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, said: "This isn't just about selling a million tickets. It's about making the Games accessible to all.

"We have listened and learnt from previous Commonwealth Games as well as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"This is a Games for everyone. And by that I mean success not just for the organising committee and our partners, but also for the people of Glasgow, Scotland and the Commonwealth."

Following complaints about the empty seats on Wednesday, officials said they were working to ensure spare tickets went to the public.

Yesterday a Glasgow 2014 spokesman said: "A small number of seats allocated to the media and to athletes from different sports were not taken up at the diving session."

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