Visa Inc. is getting heat from one of the United Kingdom's largest consumer-advocacy groups, which claims the card network's exclusive ticket-sales deal for the 2012 Olympic Games in London discriminates against non-Visa cardholders.

Visa's long-running Olympics-sponsorship role gives it exclusive rights to manage the entire payment-system infrastructure and network throughout all Olympics venues. That includes selling local tickets and merchandise and operating all automated teller machines.

But Which?, a U.K. consumer group, said last month that Visa's deal is unfair to cardholders of competing payment card brands.

"We think it's outrageous that some U.K. sports fans will be discriminated against in this way," Peter Vicary-Smith, the group's chief executive, said in a press release. "We want the London 2012 Committee to take steps to ensure there's a level playing field and that U.K. consumers have equal access to the games, whether or not they are Visa cardholders.

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