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Computer expert condemns Games ticketing meltdown

A computer expert has claimed the ticketing fiasco should never have happened, with organisers suggesting it could be days before technical problems which have left 40,000 unsold are sorted out.

The cause of the computer glitches is still being probed by the system's operators Ticketmaster and it appears unlikely that the remaining allocation for the Glasgow event will go on sale again today.

Problems emerged within hours of the 100,000 tickets being issued on Monday as demand drove the booking system into meltdown.

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said: "Glasgow 2014 and its Official Ticketing Provider Ticketmaster are urgently reviewing the performance of the ticketing website with the aim of resolving the issues experienced by some of our customers.

"Once this review is complete and any measures have been implemented and tested we will be in a position in coming days to advise when ticket sales will be back up and running.

"It is our absolute priority to be able to meet, as soon as possible, the enthusiasm and demand that sports fans have shown for the Final Sprint for tickets and we thank all of our supporters and customers for their patience."

The announcement appeared to contradict earlier reassurances by Ticketmaster chairman, Chris Edmonds, that the site would be up and running again "very soon".

The tickets website and call centre were closed indefinitely on Tuesday after transaction errors and lengthy delays which saw some waiting up to 25 hours online on secure bookings.

Customers took to Twitter in exasperation after repeatedly reaching the payment stage only to be diverted back into the queue and eventually finding events they had tried to purchase tickets for were sold out.

As the joint investigation investigation by Glasgow 2014 and Ticketus continues, Professor Bill Buchanan, an expert in software security and infrastructure at Edinburgh Napier University, said: "It has been a major disaster, and really shouldn't happen in these days of Cloud Computing, where it is possible to create many servers and cope with the demand.

"I can't believe that they did not test it fully on the expected loading on the system. Many companies now detect increases in network requests, and spin-up other servers to cope with the demand. There were other ways they could have filtered the responses, such as asking for questions when they first access the site, and move them onto the correct place, with given priorities."

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said the system being used with Ticketmaster was "tried and tested" and had been put through a rigorous testing regime.

However, he conceded it had let down customers.

He said: "The ticket system has not met capacity and has not coped with demand. In the past 28 hours we've gone through a number of technical solutions with Ticketmaster which have not solved the situation."

First Minister Alex Salmond said the problem had caused huge frustration and had to be "sorted out as quickly as possible".

Mr Edmonds, chairman of Ticketmaster UK, yesterday apologised to customers who had been disappointed by the booking process. He said: "We are aware customers have experienced long delays and some challenges. We do regret any frustration."

The tickets chaos comes just weeks after Games organisers were forced into an embarrassing climbdown over controversial plans to demolish five of the remaining six Red Road tower blocks as part of the opening ceremony.

Games minister Shona Robison has urged the Prime Minister, who is visiting Scotland, to confirm personnel from the Royal Regiment of Scotland will be used to support safety and security around the event.

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