Romário, who won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994, is now a politician. He alleged on his personal website that Pat Hickey was abusing his post to ensure the contract for ticket sales for Ireland for the Games went to a subsidiary of a firm that employed his son, Stephan Hickey.
“Everyone knows of my concern to ensure all citizens access to the games of the World Cup and the Olympics. Therefore, some information concern me much,” he said. “It was reported in England that Mr Hickey granted the allocation of tickets for Ireland’s Olympic Games in London to a private company that, in turn, created ticket packages with lodging geared toward wealthier clientele.”
The former Barcelona striker said he was determined that all citizens had equal access both to 2014 World Cup Games and also to the 2016 Olympics.
“Here in Brazil will tickets for the Games be luxurious goods, and the middle-class, the poor, can only attend competitions on TV?” he wrote.
In response, Mr Hickey said Rio 2016 had confirmed it would decide in late-2013 with each national Olympic committee and its authorised ticket reseller (ATR) how to ensure efficient ticket sales abroad.
“Therefore, a ticket strategy for Rio is not in place yet and all comments re: same are purely speculative. Ireland’s approved ATR for London was appointed with the full approval of the executive committee of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI). In addition, I wish to state very clearly that the OCI is not under and has never been under investigation at any level concerning ticketing issues for the London Games.”
He said the Irish Hospit-ality House in London was a commercial project of the ATR and approved by the executive committee of the OCI.
“The promoters were appointed six months before they head-hunted Stephan Hickey from his management position at the O2 Arena in London. Stephan is an event management professional who has worked in London for 15 years, and will leave his position when his contract is completed at the end of this year. His appointment was approved by the executive committee of the OCI and Stephan had no involvement whatsoever with ticketing.”