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Olympics organisers: We're powerless to stop torches going on eBay

London 2012 organisers say they can only hope that the torches – up for as much as £145,000 – find “good homes”.

Torchbearers in Exeter pass the Olympic flame in Exeter yesterday, as the torch began its 8,000-mile trip around Britain and Ireland.
Torchbearers in Exeter pass the Olympic flame in Exeter yesterday, as the torch began its 8,000-mile trip around Britain and Ireland.
Image: Ben Birchall/LOCOG

THE ORGANISERS of this summer’s Olympic Games in London have admitted they are powerless to stop the highly-prised torches, being used for the ten-week torch relay around the UK and Ireland, from going on eBay.

The games organising committee Locog told Sky News that the torches used for the relay, which began over the weekend and which will continue until the games begin on July 27, are the property of each individual relay runner.

The comments came after the torches began appearing on the online auction website, with one reportedly selling for as much as £152,500 – despite the fact that most of the torches have yet to be actually used.

Participants in the relay run around Britain and Ireland are supplied with their own torches, which are used to carry the flames for one mile each before the flame is passed on to the next runner.

One torch currently for sale on eBay carries an asking price of £145,000 (€179,000) – with its seller pledging to give at least a fifth of the proceeds to good causes – but more savvy torch-hunters can get another one, plus the torch-bearers’ uniform, for £10,000 (€12,400).

The Daily Mail said it had contacted a number of people selling their torches online, and while some were offering to give some (or all) of their earnings to good causes, others admitted they were simply looking to cash in from the torches, which cost £215 to buy for each relay participant.

One item on eBay which had appeared online, and which has now been removed after being listed as ‘sold’, was a photograph of a torch – which had commanded an asking price of £151,100 before the auction expired this morning:

Organisers have arranged a winding path for the British leg of the torch relay, which began at Land’s End in Cornwall on Saturday, so that the torch passes within 10 miles of around 95 per cent of the population of the UK.

The visit of the torch to the Republic during its run around the UK is relatively unusual, as the Olympic flame is usually kept within the host nation once it arrives, though the flame will only be on the southern side of the border for a few hours.

Read: Route of Olympic torch relay in Dublin revealed

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Gavan Reilly

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