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In the first round, about 22 million requests came in for the 6.6 million tickets, which range in price from more than $31 to more than $3,150. Further rounds were blighted by computer problems, and plans for future ticket sales have failed to stem public grumbling. Ticket allocations for sponsors are likely to come under even greater scrutiny, mostly because of the impression that the wealthy and connected get special treatment.

There is still confusion about the next ticket offering, expected in April. New figures indicate about 4 million tickets are still unsold, including many for Paralympic events and soccer matches.

“I don’t want to sound cavalier or remotely unrecognizable of the fact that, yeah, there is disappointment out there about tickets,” Coe said. “I can’t see any other way of doing it.”

More criticism is certain to follow comments by committee chief executive officer Paul Deighton, who told the BBC that people may have to pay at the prime vantage point of the Olympic cycle road race. The assumption had been that spectators lining the road would be able to do so for free — even at the viewing point at Box Hill, Surrey.

The race includes a 10-mile circuit around the viewing point where spectators would be able to see riders multiple times. The race finishes at the Mall in London. Deighton told the BBC it would be “perfectly appropriate … to consider charging for the tickets.”

“Box Hill is a challenging environment because it’s highly protected,” he said. “It’s not the easiest place to watch things from or to control big crowds. It’s a prime viewing slot, the men’s race goes round it nine times; it’s better, frankly, than being at the start and finish in the Mall.”

The Olympics start July 27 and end Aug. 12.


AP Sports Writer Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.