London – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said early Sunday it has launched an investigation into a news report that several national Olympic Committees and authorised resellers broke rules over the sale of tickets for the London 2012 Games.

The IOC said in a statement that its executive board held an emergency meeting, decided to call in the IOC ethics committee and to ask for all evidence of wrongdoing brought forward to the ethics commitee.

British paper Sunday Times alleged in an undercover investigation that officials and agents from 54 countries were ready to break the strict IOC rules in connection with sales of tickets for the London Games which start on July 27.

The IOC said that “several NOCs and ATRs were reportedly willing to break the rules by offering to buy or sell tickets outside their territory, sell tickets at inflated prices, or sell tickets to unauthorised resellers.

“On being informed of the allegations, the IOC immediately convened an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Board and determined a number of actions – the convening of the Ethics Commission and asking for any evidence of wrongdoing to be provided to the Commission without delay.

“The IOC takes these allegations very seriously ... Should any irregularities be proven, the organisation will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner.”

“The NOCs are autonomous organisations but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions,” the IOC said. – Sapa-dpa