The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched an investigation into allegations that some national Olympic officials were breaking strict rules on selling tickets for the London Games.

The IOC pledged to take the "strongest sanctions" possible if members of national Olympic committees (NOCs) and authorised ticket resellers (ATRs) were found to have broken the rules.

The inquiry was launched following investigations made by The Sunday Times newspaper.

"After claims 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, the IOC has ordered an immediate inquiry and referred the allegations to its independent Ethics Commission," said an IOC statement on Saturday.

The IOC said that its Ethics Commission would look into the evidence and will examine any recommendations that could improve the system of international ticket sales.

"The IOC takes these allegations very seriously and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate," added the statement.

"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."

Source: Agencies