News 18 August 2016

Hickey steps aside from EOC & OCI roles after Rio arrest

Pat Hickey has stepped aside as President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and President of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), following his arrest yesterday by Rio’s Polícia Civil in connection to allegations of illegal ticket touting at the Rio 2016 Olympics. As can be seen from the BBC video below, Hickey was arrested in a hotel room in Rio. The OCI denied allegations that Hickey had sought to ‘evade’ arrest. A BBC report alleged that Hickey’s wife had told police that he had left Rio, and Police found Hickey in a room registered under his son’s name.

‘Contrary to reports, Mr Hickey complied fully with the terms of the warrant’, read an OCI statement. ‘Mr Hickey was taken ill as this warrant was served and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure’. An EOC statement confirmed that Vice President Janez Kocijančič would immediately assume Hickey’s role.

Police found that hundreds of tickets earmarked for the OCI had ended up in the possession of four men connected to THG Sports, which had marked them up for resale at inflated prices. Police told the BBC that they are investigating the possibility that Pro10 Sports Management, the Irish Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) based in Dublin, may have been set up by the OCI as a method of acquiring tickets for THG Sports, which was the Irish ATR prior to Rio. Pro10 does not list any other clients on its internet site.

In a 12 August statement, Pro10 said that THG’s Kevin Mallon was holding tickets on the ground for clients of Pro 10, but said that he was not supposed to be selling tickets at above face value cost. Mallon has been detained in Brazil, and arrest warrants are understood to have been issued for three further THG employees, as well as for three Pro10 Directors.

Irish Minister for Sport, Shane Ross, has returned to Ireland to seek talks with the government about what action to take, after the OCI refused to investigate its own role in the issue. ‘The Minister has been seeking to get to the bottom of the OCI ticketing allegations since his arrival here in Rio’, read a statement from Ross. ‘In fact, he came straight to a meeting with OCI President Pat Hickey from the airport.  He robustly challenged the OCI’s position that it would not accept an independent member onto its investigative panel.’

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