Byline: Rebecca Evans and Sean Poulter
THE wait is almost over for those anxious to know if they have a seat for the greatest sporting event on Earth.
But while the 1.8 million London 2012 Olympic ticket applicants will soon learn if they were successful, it will be another year before they know how good their seats are - and only then after paying a [pounds sterling]6 postal fee.
Games organisers yesterday began deducting money from the credit cards and bank accounts of ticket holders - a process expected to take several weeks.
Yet applicants will not know the details of their seat allocation until they physically receive their tickets by paying a [pounds sterling]6 postage charge.
Organisers say the fee is to ensure tickets are received safely as they will be sent by recorded delivery and will need to be signed for.
They also insist 'there are no poor seats' and that higher ticket prices reflect seats being closer to the action rather than having poor lines of sight.
For most ticket holders, a one-off payment will be taken over the next few weeks, but for a few orders, organisers may also take a second payment if someone drops out of the ballot and the applicant is next on the waiting list.
A Games spokesman said: 'The process of taking money for tickets has started and we are aiming to let everyone know what tickets they have by June 24.
'Depending on what tickets they have bought, applicants may be able to figure out what events they are for by the size of the payment we take.
'In a few cases, we may take another payment if someone drops out of a ballot and the applicant is next on the list for that event.
'But we will try to let people know and attempt to take payment several times if there are insufficient funds, before cancelling the order. …