Football Association of Ireland (FAI) chief executive John Delaney has said he had “no knowledge of or involvement in” anything to do with organising tickets for the Olympic Games in Rio.
Mr Delaney said that Brazilian police never contacted him over the Olympic Games ticket controversy in connection with their investigations. He said a warrant that was issued for his passport was withdrawn 10 days ago.
Mr Delaney issued a near 700-word statement to the “football family” yesterday because he felt the time is “now appropriate to clarify certain issues” relating to the controversy which overshadowed Ireland’s involvement in the Games.
He said that, arising out of events in Brazil, particularly the issuing of a warrant against his passport, suggestions of wrongdoing were made against him.
Now in the wake of the controversy, he said that, in the coming period, “[I will] reconsider my position” as the FAI’s volunteer member of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) executive committee.
Mr Delaney said in his statement that, as a volunteer member of the committee, his role did not involve him in the day-to-day operations of the OCI.
“I had absolutely no role or involvement in the OCI’s handling of ticketing arrangements for the Rio Olympic Games and no knowledge or awareness of PRO 10 or its position as the OCI’s ticket reseller,” he said. “This appointment was not brought to the OCI board’s attention.”
Mr Delaney said that, because of his football commitments, he only attended five of the 13 board meetings prior to the Olympic Games.
OCI president Pat Hickey, who has temporarily stepped aside, and Irishman Kevin Mallon are among nine people facing charges by Brazilian authorities in relation to alleged ticket touting at the Olympic Games.
Despite being one of 13 OCI board members, Mr Delaney did not travel to Brazil for the Games but was one of six people who had warrants issued against their passports by a Brazilian judge.
That warrant was withdrawn 10 days ago, he said.
Mr Delaney criticised what he called certain media outlets who “took the opportunity to make the most serious and defamatory allegations against me”.
He said such reporting was “inaccurate”.
“My role as CEO of the FAI, it seemed, led to a significantly prominent positioning of this inaccurate and high-profile reporting,” he said.
He confirmed that his legal advisers are now handling the matter and it is known he has initiated legal proceedings against a number of media outlets.
Mr Delaney said that as, an executive committee member, he refrained from engaging publicly on OCI matters as it would not have been appropriate for him to publicly comment on or discuss sensitive or confidential OCI board matters.
“I will continue to be bound by that confidentiality,” he added.
Mr Delaney went on to say that his priority as an OCI board member, along with his colleagues, was to ensure that all proper steps were put in place to ensure that the OCI addressed the important issues it faced correctly, including ensuring that proper and appropriate expert advice was taken on the various issues.
It was also imperative the committee initially gained a full understanding and knowledge of the facts and seriousness of the situation presented to them to allow the executive committee members implement the correct course of action of investigation and resolve, he said.
Mr Delaney went on to say that he completely supports all enquiries now under way and “will play my part fully in all these matters”.
Asked about Mr Delaney’s statement, the OCI said: “As these issues are material to the state inquiry into the OCI handling of ticketing for the Rio Olympics the OCI is unable to comment on them until the Grant Thornton review is complete and the state inquiry deliberations have concluded.”
Statement by John Delaney, FAI CEO
Many members of the football family have asked me in recent weeks to talk publicly about my role as the FAI’s volunteer representative on the OCI’s Executive Committee and, while respecting the confidentiality of my position, I feel the time is now appropriate to clarify certain issues.
Over the past number of weeks, the Olympic Council of Ireland Rio Olympics ticketing issue has dominated the headlines and a number of serious allegations were made by a section of the Irish media suggesting involvement and wrongdoing on my behalf.
These allegations arose out of events in Brazil, in particular the issuing of a warrant against my passport by the Brazilian authorities. As everyone should now be aware, this warrant was subsequently withdrawn, 10 days ago. In fact, the Brazilian police have never made any contact with me in relation to this issue.
When the issue of the warrant was first publicised in Brazil, certain media outlets took the opportunity to make the most serious and defamatory allegations against me. My role as CEO of the FAI, it seemed, led to a significantly prominent positioning of this inaccurate and high-profile reporting. These matters are now in the hands of my legal advisers and so I cannot comment further on them other than to confirm that I had no knowledge of or involvement in anything to do with tickets for the Rio games.
I am the FAI’s nominee on the OCI executive committee. This committee is the board of OCI and comprises 13 people from a range of different sports and in common with most of the members of the executive committee, my role does not involve me in the day-to-day operations of the OCI.
As an executive committee member, I refrained from engaging publicly on OCI matters as it would not have been appropriate for me to publicly comment on or discuss sensitive or confidential OCI board matters and I will continue to be bound by that confidentiality.
My priority as an OCI board member, along with my colleagues, was to ensure that all proper steps were put in place to ensure that the OCI addressed the important issues it faced correctly, including ensuring that proper and appropriate expert advice was taken on the various issues.
It was also imperative the committee initially gained a full understanding and knowledge of the facts and seriousness of the situation presented to us to allow the executive committee members implement the correct course of action of investigation and resolve.
The OCI has now appointed Arthur Cox (solicitors), Deloitte, and Grant Thornton to review and enquire into matters raised and these appointments are very much to be welcomed. Furthermore, the OCI has committed to its co-operation with the Government enquiry led by Justice Carroll Moran.
I want to again assure the football family that:
As previously stated my primary role and absolute priority is the continued development and growth of football in Ireland in my role as CEO of the FAI. In the coming period, I will also reconsider my position as the FAI’s volunteer member of the OCI executive committee.
I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your continued support.
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