Romario’s 2012 speech set the wheels in motion for Pat Hickey arrest

Four years ago in the Brazilian parliament, former soccer star turned senator, Romario, made a speech which would ultimately see Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey jailed last week.
Romario’s 2012 speech set the wheels in motion for Pat Hickey arrest

Romario accused Hickey of being involved in ticket touting for the 2012 Summer Games and the 2014 Winter Games. The former soccer legend added that Hickey was the link between the IOC and firms selling tickets on the black market. At the time and since, Hickey dismissed the accusations.

On being elected in 2010, Romario made dealing with corruption one of his main priorities.

When he gave his speech, he was worried the Rio Games would fall victim to widespread ticket touting. He filed a request with the Brazilian ministry of sport to investigate Hickey.

Primarily, Romario was concerned that tickets were not being made available to working-class Brazilians, instead being used for high-end corporate hospitality.

“Here in Brazil, will tickets for the Games be luxurious goods so the middle class and the poor can only attend on TV?” he asked in the parliament.

Authorities in Brazil said the Olympic Council of Ireland sought to use THG last year to act as its authorised ticket reseller for the Rio Olympics, as it had in London 2012. However, after major issues in 2014, the Rio organisers rejected THG.

So into the breach stepped Pro10, who were the official resellers for the OCI in Rio.

But then, two weeks ago, police swooped on THG employee Kevin Mallon at a hotel in Rio, who had 781 OCI tickets in his possession.

Police chiefs have claimed Mr Mallon hosted a party for wealthy Brazilians at the Next Hotel where OCI tickets with a face value of R$1,400 (€383) were being sold for up to US$8,000 (€7,070).

Police have claimed they have identified several hundred emails between Hickey and Marcus Evans.

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