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2012 Olympic torch relay confined to Britain's borders

Britain's world boxing champion David Haye, right, helped 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe launch the Olympic torch relay route.
Britain's world boxing champion David Haye, right, helped 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe launch the Olympic torch relay route.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Olympic flame will not follow an international route ahead of the 2012 Games
  • It will make a 70-day trip around the United Kingdom and possibly Ireland
  • Problems with violent protests in the 2008 torch relay forced a rethink in plans
  • Almost two million people waiting to hear if they have been successful in ticket ballot

(CNN) -- The torch relay for the 2012 London Olympics will be confined to the United Kingdom and possibly Ireland, it was confirmed when the route was announced on Wednesday.

The flame will arrive from its home in Athens a year from now, then begin a 70-day tour of Britain starting at Land's End in southern Cornwall on May 19 and ending in the capital city for the opening ceremony on July 27.

The first global relay was in 2004 when Greece hosted the four-yearly sporting extravaganza, but problems with human-rights protesters in the lead-up to the Beijing Games led to the International Olympic Committee changing its plans.

"People used the torch as an opportunity for protest when it should really be an opportunity for peaceful celebration," British International Olympic Committee member Craig Reedie told the UK Press Association.

2012 Olympic ticket buyers in the dark
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"That's why the decision was taken by the IOC to make it a domestic relay only and I think that can only benefit London and Britain."

The torch will travel an estimated 8,000 miles (12,875 kilometers) and go to six islands off the British coast, while officials are in talks over a possible stop in the Irish capital Dublin.

"The Olympic flame will shine a light right across every nation and region of the UK and showcase the very best of who we are and where we live," London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe said.

"The first locations on the route confirmed today give a flavor of the reach the Olympic Torch Relay will have around the UK and how extensive the opportunity for starting to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games will be."

Applicants for the 6.6 million tickets available across 26 sports are now waiting to hear if they have been successful.

Organizers have started taking money out of their bank accounts, but will not notify people about which tickets they have been allocated until June 24.

Coe said the 1.8 million people who made 20 million applications in total knew from the outset that they would not know which tickets they got before paying for them.

Rules warned that people must have sufficient funds in their account between May 10-June 10, though the first day of taking money was put back to last Monday.

"It was very clear from us very early on that we would be taking the money out and we would then let people know what they got," Coe said.

"It is easier to do that all at the same time rather than in dribs and drabs. This was always the way."