OLYMPICS: The greatest show on earth officially begins in east London tomorrow night, but Olympics organisers admitted today that tickets for the opening ceremony have not sold out.
As many as a billion people will watch the Danny Boyle-directed extravaganza on television, but the revelations of unsold tickets with less than a day to go raises the spectre of the embarrassment of empty seats for an event that has been seven years in the making.
Tickets remain on sale on the website of the London Organising Committee, with tickets in category AA, which cost a galling £2,012 each, and category A, which cost £1,600, still available.
Nonetheless a spokesman for Locog said that "we are confident there will be no empty seats tomorrow."
The news of unsold tickets coincides with the Games organisers coming under fire from human rights campaigners over the litany of dictators reportedly due to attend the ceremony.
The Peter Tatchell Foundation said that, with the likes of Prince Nasser al Khalifa of Bahrain, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, all due to attend, the British government, the International Olympic Committee and the London Olympic organisers had invited leaders accused of "grave human rights abuses," which they all deny.
"It goes against the principles, values and spirit of the Olympic Charter for the Queen, UK government and London Olympic organisers to fete these tyrants and torturers," said Peter Tatchell, who added that the aforementioned leaders "should be issued with arrest warrants for human rights abuses, not feted with VIP invitations to Buckingham Palace and the Opening Ceremony."