OCI committee divided as ticket review deferred

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) executive committee was “deeply divided” over its decision to defer its review into the Rio ticketing scandal, the Irish Examiner has learned.

The news comes as Judge Carroll Moran is to seek an extension to his 12-week time period to complete a report, a request which Sports Minister Shane Ross is likely to grant.

At its meeting on Wednesday night, the committee was not unanimous in its decision to defer the review by consultants Grant Thornton, because of a threat from former OCI president Pat Hickey, to injunct the review.

Unlike previous statements from the OCI where it was stated decisions taken were agreed by all committee members, it is understood there was a strong division between those who have been described close to Mr Hickey and other members.

“It was a bit of a battle between the new guard and the old guard alright.

“But the decision was certainly not unanimous,” said one well-placed source.

The news comes as Ciarán Ó Catháin announced he is to resign as chair of the crisis management Committee and director of the OCI.

He announced his decision at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Mr Ó Catháin is a former president of Athletics Ireland and current president of Athlone IT. He was not responding to calls last night from the Irish Examiner.

Mr Ó Catháin’s shock resignation followed the revelation the OCI’s review of ticketing arrangements for Rio had been postponed after Mr Hickey threatened to seek an injunction preventing its completion.

Mr Hickey was arrested in August as part of an investigation by Brazilian police into the alleged mis-selling of tickets for the Olympic Games.

In a statement, the OCI said the review into ticket arrangements by Grant Thornton had been postponed pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against Mr Hickey.

While insisting they will continue to co-operate fully with Judge Moran’s inquiry, the decision by the OCI is an unwelcome impediment to Mr Ross’s desire for a speedy conclusion to the probe.

A spokesman for the Hickey family made no comment in response to queries from the Irish Examiner.

Mr Ross was travelling to Chicago yesterday and was unavailable for comment.

Last month, Kevin Kilty resigned from his post as the OCI’s honorary treasurer.

Mr Kilty was appointed to act as Ireland’s chef de mission at Rio 2016.

His departure followed two days after the resignation of John Delaney, the Football Association of Ireland chief executive, from his post on the OCI board.

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