Want your soon-to-be-born child to catch the Olympics this year? Junior may just have to watch on television.
Rules set by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games state every person must have a ticket to attend the games, regardless of age, the Guardian reports. The news is raising ire among soon-to-be parents, many who bought tickets in April 2010, 15 months before the opening ceremonies and before they got pregnant.
Ticket policies posted online clearly state babies and children need their own seats. The glitch? Posted ticket information failed to mention babies conceived after their parents purchased the original tickets, an omission that has since been corrected.
Parents and babies alike will battle it out with other hopefuls when the final 1.3 million tickets go on sale this April. A limited number of specially priced, pay-your-age children’s tickets, with prices beginning at one pound ($1.55), are available. But there is no guarantee that children’s tickets will be available for every event.
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Angry moms and moms-to-be took their frustrations to the Internet. A thread called “Full Price Babies at the Olympics” on the British parenting website Mumsnet swelled to 245 posts following the news. One mother, who purchased single-event tickets to an August 8 equestrian event prior to her child’s birth, lamented she would now have to pay an additional 95 pounds ($147) for her 3-month-old because there are no children’s tickets available.
Current ticketholders unable or unwilling to purchase additional tickets may be forced to sell or miss out. (Or, you know, get a babysitter and thus relieve the people sitting around them of all the fuss.)
Rosalind Ereira told the Guardian she contacted the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is considering legal action. Affected ticket holders could possibly have a case for “indirect sex discrimination” because the newborn ticket policy will have a stronger effect on women.
Organizers of the Games appear to be softening, telling the Guardian late Tuesday, “Of course we understand that some new mums may want to take their babies to events they have tickets to and we will look at what we can do when the remaining tickets go on sale in April.”
USA Today reports that gate agents at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver used discretion, considering children less than a year old to be a child care issue, not a ticketing issue.