Gaddafi regime 'not attending London Olympics'

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Media captionThe Gaddafis cannot attend 2012 - Robertson

The government has confirmed that Libyan leader Col Gaddafi will not be attending the London 2012 Olympics.

Tickets are due to be allocated to Libya's National Olympic Committee (NOC), but the UK government said an EU travel ban would prevent members of the Libyan government from attending.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had not yet handed over any tickets to Libya's NOC.

It said it was waiting "until the current situation becomes clearer".

The European Union imposed a travel ban on Col Gaddafi and his close entourage in February. It followed his regime's violent response to an uprising against his 41-year rule.

Col Gaddafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity following "widespread and systematic attacks" on civilians.

British troops are part of a Nato mission enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya aimed at protecting civilians.

'Wait and see' policy

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that every international visitor was subject to the UK's immigration controls, and was refused entry if they didn't meet the rules.

A spokesman added: "Gaddafi, his son and key figures in the current Libyan government are banned from entering the EU and will not be coming to the Olympic Games.

"As with all National Organising Committees, the Libyan NOC, not an individual, has been allocated a few hundred tickets which they are responsible for distributing to sports organisations and athletes within their country."

An IOC statement said that, in conjunction with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog), a decision had been made to release no tickets yet to Libya's NOC.

"To be absolutely clear, no tickets have been printed or paid for," the statement said.

"Quite sensibly we will retain this 'wait and see' policy until we can be absolutely certain that the tickets can be used correctly.

"The IOC will of course continue to insist on the point that the athletes from whatever country are independent of government and should have a right to compete."

Locog allocates tickets to individual participating nations' NOCs, who then allocate them in turn to various individuals.

However, a list of those individuals is then sent to Locog which then passes it on to the Home Office for scrutiny. Individuals who are not allowed into the country are then prevented from entering.

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