By Tom Degun

Visa applications_June_28June 28 - Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, has said that visa applications from foreign nationals to attend London 2012 will only be rejected by the relevant authorities for a particular reason.

The issue was raised with Robertson this week after a number of Chinese citizens reportedly purchased Olympic tickets before discovering their visa applications had been refused.

Similar problems have also been reported in Iran with Bahram Afsharzadeh, the secretary general of Iran's National Olympic Committee (NOC), saying that "Iranian sports fans have been denied visas for going to the Olympics" despite applying several weeks ago.

"Anybody can be denied in their application for a visa but they are always rejected for a reason," Robertson said.

"Each case is specific so it is difficult to comment on but if we know the specific facts of a case, the issue will be investigated properly by the Government."

The Home Office have also said that no new plans are in place to process visa applications despite the fact that the Games are taking place in less than a month.

"There has been no change in the rules for the Olympics," a Home Office spokesman told insidethegames.

"Everything is the same and every application is considered on its merits."

From January to March this year there were 39,756 visa applications accepted for entry into the UK but the numbers that were submitted have not yet been released.

UK-Border-Agency-visa-app-June 28
Britain is already the sixth most visited country in the world and it is anticipated that an additional 700,000 international travellers will visit during the Olympics, which begin on July 27 and conclude on August 12.

Heathrow Airport, the official host airport of London 2012, is the third busiest airport in the world and will be the main point of entry for the Olympics and Paralympics, with around 80 per cent of people travelling to the Games from outside the United Kingdom set to pass through it.

But they face a huge logistical challenge with August 13, the day after the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony, set to be the busiest in the airport's history and the number of bags expected to leave the airport be more than 25 per cent higher than usual peak times.

Around 15 per cent of the bags are likely to consist of large sporting equipment such as canoes, pole vaults or bikes, which cannot be processed through normal baggage systems.

Businesses and airlines have long argued that Heathrow needs another runway to cope with rising demand, but the move has been consistently blocked by the Government because of environmental concerns.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
June 2012: Head of Syrian Olympic Committee banned from London 2012