Ticket probe details to be made public

Pat Hickey.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has committed to make public the details of their investigation into alleged ticket touting in Rio de Janeiro.

It comes as pressure mounts on OCI president Pat Hickey to appear before an Oireachtas committee to answer questions on how around 1,000 Olympic tickets may have been illegally put up for sale.

The OCI has asked the Rio organising committee to pass on all evidence relating to black-market tickets. It is investigating how Kevin James Mallon and interpreter Barbara Carnieri allegedly came to own OCI-allocated tickets.

Chairman of the Oireachtas committee on sport, Brendan Griffin, called a full committee review of Ireland’s participation in Rio. Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Sean Fleming described a statement by the OIC as a “joke”. He said it must reveal how tickets earmarked for the OIC allegedly made it to the black market.

It is understood the OCI will appear before PAC if requested and will co-operate fully with any other public body.

However, the Irish Examiner understands the OCI’s priority is to conclude its investigations but the body indicated that when the facts are known “we are of course ready to share the information publicly in the appropriate manner”.

In a statement yesterday, the OCI said its probe of illegal ticket sales was “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.”

However, Fianna Fáil TD Mr Fleming told RTÉ’s News at One: “They are saying they are treating the matter seriously and if anybody is found to have breached the regulations they shouldn’t be appointed for future Olympics. That’s a joke. There has to be stronger sanctions than that.”

Sports Minister Shane Ross is to fly to Rio on Sunday where he will meet with Mr Hickey to discuss with him how tickets could possibly have ended up on the black market.

Last night, Kerry TD Mr Griffin highlighted the ticket touting controversy and the doping scandal which has seen boxer Michael O’Reilly leave the games.

“After the Games and the Paralympic Games conclude I would like to see the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Council of Ireland, and other relevant parties, come before the Sports Committee to review performances at the 2016 Olympics,” said Mr Griffin.

PAC member Noel Rock urged Mr Hickey to appear before the committee: “ Ultimately the Olympic Council of Ireland is taxpayer-funded so as such the Public Accounts Committee absolutely has the right to be asking these kinds of question. But Pat Hickey should be answering these type of questions.”

Key questions

How many tickets were the Olympic Council of Ireland allocated for the Rio Olympics?

It is not clear how many were allocated as this is regarded as commercially sensitive information.

Of the total allocation, how many of these were given to THG?

The full OCI allocation was provided to Pro10 by the Rio organising committee. How they reached THG is unclear, as is the number THG received. How tickets came to be in the possession of third-party sellers is part of the OCI’s ongoing investigation with Pro10.

How was Pro10 chosen?

When ticket sales agents apply to become authorised ticket resellers (ATRs), they enter into an evaluation process with the Olympic Games Organising Committee. They have to submit a business questionnaire and other details in order to satisfy the organising committee’s expectations around the objectives and principles for the ticketing programme. Only once those requirements have been satisfied does the organising committee approve the appointment of ATRs, with the IOC as counter-signatories to the decision.

Are tickets bar-coded?

All tickets have a bar code.

When tickets are sold by a third party, are the names and addresses of the buyers passed on to the OCI?

No, third-party details are not passed on to OCI. It is understood that this is in line with standard practice and the terms and conditions dictated by the Rio 2016 Organising Committee.

Did the OCI sign off on THG as a third-party seller?

It is understood that the OCI neither authorised nor instructed Pro10 to deal with any other third-party seller, nor was it requested by Pro10.

How is the price decided?

The OCI is not responsible for ticket sales. ATRs are allowed to mark-up ticket prices in accordance with the terms of their contracts with the Rio organising committee.

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