* Report alleges official tried to sell tickets on black
* Ukraine NOC chief Bubka embarrassed
(Adds quotes, detail)
By Steve Keating
QUEBEC CITY, May 22 The Ukraine National Olympic
Committee launched an investigation on Tuesday and suspended a
top official accused of offering to sell thousands of dollars
worth of tickets for the London Olympics on the black market.
Ukraine Olympic chief Sergei Bubka suspended general
secretary Volodymyr Gerashchenko after a BBC report said he
offered to sell 100 tickets for the July 27-Aug. 12 Games to a
reporter posing as a ticket buyer.
Bubka, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member who
was attending meetings in Quebec City, said he would return home
to Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday to the deal with the scandal.
"For us it is a really unpleasant situation, particularly
for me as president of the National Olympic Committee," the
former Olympic pole vault champion Bubka told reporters at a
hastily arranged media briefing. "First I would like to say we
have suspended Mr. Gerashchenko and started an investigation.
"We will create an independent commission to investigate
what has happened."
Bubka said he had few details beyond the BBC report but had
already informed Sebastian Coe, head of the London Olympic
Organising Committee and IOC president Jacques Rogge of the
The Ukraine Olympic Committee was allotted 2,900 tickets for
distribution to various officials and groups.
Bubka, pole vault world record holder and a national hero in
Ukraine, was clearly embarrassed and said he had plenty of
questions for Gerashchenko, general secretary since 1997.
"This is an important issue, I need to act immediately, I
need to be there," he said. "For me this is very important. This
is my life. I am happy to be involved from my childhood, to
dream to be an Olympic champion and then president of the
Olympic NOC and a member of the IOC.
"We should make everything clear and stick to Olympic ideals
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Quebec City; Editing by Frank