The president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, Pat Hickey, has insisted there has been “no impropriety whatsoever” by either himself or anyone else within OCI in relation to tickets for the Rio Olympics.
Pressure has been mounting on the OCI and Mr Hickey to clarify the situation after Irish man Kevin James Mallon, who is involved with sports hospitality company THG, was arrested in Rio after allegedly being found with OCI- allocated tickets.Up to 1,000 tickets have been seized.
Last night, Mr Hickey broke his silence, telling RTÉ: “What I can tell you very clearly is that there is no impropriety whatsoever from anyone within the OCI or myself in the dealing of tickets. I want to reassure of that 100%.”
A number of investigations into the ticketing scandal are now being conducted, including one by the OCI. Mr Hickey said: “I am fully expecting that we, the OCI, will come out of it with a fully clear bill of health.”
He said the tickets involved the controversy were issued by games organisers to the Dublin-based Pro10 Sports management group.
“What happens with the tickets is we don’t handle them whatsoever,” Mr Hickey said. “The tickets are issued to Pro10, not by us but by Rio 2016. So we never handle tickets whatsoever.”
Pro10 has already insisted it has, at all times, “strictly complied with all regulations around ticket sales and resale”.
Mr Hickey said he would be very sorry for the embarrassment caused to Ireland by the controversy.
“I intend to rectify it and correct it as fast as I can,” he added.
OCI has committed to share information around allegations of illegal ticket touting in Brazil when “the facts are known”.
The chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Sport, Brendan Griffin, said a full committee review of Ireland’s participation in the Rio Olympics is now required to examine how around 1,000 OCI-allocated tickets may have ended up on the black market.
Yesterday afternoon, OCI issued a statement in which it said its investigation into allegations of illegal ticket sales “is progressing”.
“We have formally requested the Rio 2016 Organising Committee to pass on immediately all evidence and relevant information from the investigating Brazilian authorities to enable the OCI to advance our inquiries as quickly as possible.”
It said it was treating the matter “with the utmost seriousness”.
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