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The General Secretary of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, Volodymyr Gerashchenko, resigned Friday May 28, 2012 after he tried to sell Olympic tickets on the black market. Gerashchenko has been the General Secretary, the top position of the committee, since 1997 according to the BBC.
Gerashchenko’s black market deal was revealed by a BBC journalist who went undercover as an unauthorized ticket dealer. Gerashchenko was in London at the time fulfilling his duties as General Secretary, by accrediting Ukrainian athletes and officials. The journalist had heard that Gerashchenko was illegally selling tickets and secretly taped the meeting between Gerashchenko and himself. Gerashchenko stated, “I understand you’re a dealer – that’s why for me, you are priority number one, the top, the person, in case we have extra ticket to contact you, we contact you”.
Reportedly, Gerashchenko was selling about 100 tickets for several thousand pounds. He planned to give 2,900 tickets allotted to his committee for distribution to Ukrainian fans, coaches, and officials but then sell the rest of the tickets.
Since 2005 it has been illegal to sell Olympic tickets on the black market. Every offense incurs a fine of £20,000. It is unknown yet whether or not Gerashchenko will have to pay these fines since he did not actually sell the tickets.
The Ukrainian National Olympic Committee President Sergey Bubka claimed that he was surprised about the allegations. He said, “We have a special committee responsible for the requests for the Olympic tickets within our quota. The list of the requested tickets is validated by the Executive Committee. This list is a strictly accountable document. There is no possibility for any individual to distribute the tickets beyond the list.”
The allegations were taken very seriously by all and investigations have already begun. Gerashchenko was suspended immediately after the video and story were released and he tendered his resignation shortly thereafter. Bubka claimed “[The committee] takes accusations very seriously and that is why we have acted so swiftly to address the recent BBC reports.”
Shortly after the release of the story and news video the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine held an emergency meeting. Directly after the meeting Gerashchenko tendered his resignation as General Secretary. However, he also promised to cooperate in the criminal and Olympic committee investigation. Sergey Bubka told the BBC, “It will not be appropriate for me in light of the investigation to comment any further.”
Geraschenko was the top official of the 149-member National Olympic Committee of Ukraine. The scandal has cast a shadow on Ukraine’s international image and may affect the European Soccer Championship that the Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland this June.