Tag Archives: Olympics

This morning.

The World anti-doping agency has voted unanimously to ban Russia from international sport for four years for doping offences.

Russia now have 21 days to appeal the sentence, which would see the country banned from participating at next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo and the Qatar World Cup of 20

Russia banned from Tokyo Olympics and football World Cup (The Guardian)

From top: Tokyo 2020 logo; John Treacy, of Sports Ireland,  Mayor Hideyuki Harada (Fukuroi City) Pat Hickey, former CEO of the Olympic Federation of Ireland

This afternoon.

Sorts Ireland Campus, Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Following the Rio 2016 fiasco…

Via The Olympic Federation of Ireland:

Today at an event in the Sport Ireland Institute the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) signed an agreement with officials from the city of Fukuroi for Team Ireland’s Tokyo 2020 pre games training camp.

The OFI also announced that it has appointed Finnish company, Elämys Group, as its Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) for the Tokyo 2020 Games following a rigorous selection process.

Before the final appointment of the new ATR the OFI board asked Grant Thornton to conduct a thorough review of the company. As part of its review Grant Thornton examined the firm’s financial stability, ownership structures, industry checks, regulatory compliance, and consumer protections.

On the basis of the findings of that report the OFI Board were satisfied to appoint Elämys Group as the Federation’s official ATR for Toyko 2020.

Olympic Federation of Ireland



From top: David Walsh; The Sunday Independent, March 24, 1996

In fairness.

Few openly challenged Pat Hickey.

Sportswriter and Lance Armstrong nemesis David Walsh was one.

Twenty years ago, in the Sunday Independent, Mr Walsh, wrote:

Is there anybody out there who cares?

On, Friday, March 1 [1996], the President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) Pat Hickey said that Roy Douglas, chief executive of Irish Permanent Building Society, was his personal guest at the 1990 World Cup in the US.

The trip, according to Hickey, had nothing to do with the OCI. At the time, this newspaper, wrote that Douglas’s hotel bills at the World Cup were paid by the OCI.

On Tuesday morning last, March 19, Pat Hickey admitted in an RTE interview that Douglas’s hotel bills in the US were paid by the OCI. If Douglas was Hickey’s personal guest at the World Cup, why did the OCI take care of his hotel bills?

At a prestigious OCI banquet in December 1994, 48 Irish Permanent people were guests at a function where most of those present paid £30 for their tickets.

Quizzed about this unusually high representation from one company, Hickey says that the OCI were working with the Irish Permanent on a “special deal” to provide permanent headquarters for the Olympic movement in Ireland.

Around this time the OCI were also negotiating with two other companies, AIB and a Shannon-based leasing firm, for the purpose of acquiring permanent headquarters.

Neither AIB nor the leasing company were issued with anything like that number of free tickets: the AIB (official OCI sponsors then and now) got six, the leasing company did not get any.

Hickey has never offered a convincing explanation for the presence of so many Irish Permanent people at that OCI banquet.

Other aspects of the president’s performance raise important questions. Even though the OCI has a marketing subcommittee; Hickey personally negotiated a sponsorship deal with Opel which secured the use of an Opel Omega for himself until the end of the year.

The other elements of the deal are that Opel provide visiting dignitaries with cars while they are in Ireland and Opel, through its parent company General Motors, will provide cars for the Irish team at pre-Olympic training in, Fort Lauderdale and then at the Games in Atlanta.

Questions have also been asked about the OCI’s level of administrative spending. This newspaper sought, details of credit card payments for 1995 (five officers have OCI Visa cards) but the president refused to make them available.

Two members of the current OCI executive committee, former Olympian Brendan O’Connell and hockey administrator David Balbirnie, have asked that John Purcell, the Comptroller and Auditor General, be brought in to examine the accounts of the Olympic Council of Ireland.

O’Connell and Balbirnie insist that administrative spending is not properly recorded and receipted.

Last year the OCI received in excess of £lm of taxpayers’ money. O’Connell and Balbirnie have written to Purcell, formally suggesting that he look at accounting procedures in the OCI.

Given that the Comptroller and Auditor General exists to serve the taxpayer, it would be a surprise if he did not want te examine the OCI books.

Pat Hickey agreed to pay the travel and accommodation costs of Sports Minister Bernard Allen’s children while the Minister was on OCI business in Atlanta last Easter [along with the minister’s private secretary Austin Mallon and his wife].

Hickey insists that the ‘expenditure’ on the Minister’s family was miniscule and that ‘the rewards’ were great but what matters here is not the amount but the principle.

Funded by the taxpayer, the OCI should not be paying for the flights of the Minister’s children and,the Minister should not have allowed it to happen.

In other democracies, this would lead to resignations but not everyone here is overly concerned.

Fianna Fáil, the main opposition party, has not uttered a word of protest. Does this mean they approve of a Minister’s family, holiday being part-funded by the taxpayer?

Hickey’s leadership style has led to many personality conflicts.

As well as alienating fellow executive committee members, Balbirnie and O’Connell, there is a rift between. Hickey and the OCI’s fundraisihg committee in Atlanta.

In a Morning Ireland interview on Tuesday, Hickey stated that the US fundraisers used money they had raised to cover their travelling costs.

Not so, say the Americans, who are considering legal proceedings against the president they are supposed to be helping. Where this ends is anyone’s guess.

That Hickey’s position as OCI president has been undermined by the events and disclosures of the last three months is beyond dispute. Whether he remains on as OCI president is less certain.

His future is in the hands of his own executive committee and in the 28 Olympic federations that he serves. Whatever happens, the Olympic Council of Ireland has been greatly damaged by the current controversies.

Hickey is a battler and in the business of sports politics he is a survivor. Balbirnie and O’Connell, however, have pledged to continue with their fight within the OCI’s executive committee until Hickey resigns.

But they believe that there might be moves to replace them on committee.

Removing the dissident members, though, will not get rid of the OCI’s problems.

On the night, December 6 last, that Balbirnie was forced to resign as Ireland’s Olympic chef de mission, and O’Connell resigned as assistant chief, Pat Hickey said that the controversy would be nothing more than a “seven day wonder.”

The ‘seven day wonder’ is now in its fourth month and shows no sign of ending. Balbernie and O’Connell believe the only solution is the resignation of Pat Hickey.

As of now, with the damage the continuing controversy is causing to the OCI and by extension to Irish Olympians, that seems to me to be the only solution.

Article via Irish newspaper Archive

Good times.

David Walsh

90426689 90426693thg

From top: Pro 10 offices, Main Street, Lucan, Co Dublin; THG logo

Further to the Rio ticket brouhaha

The Irish Examiner reports:

A “close commercial relationship” exists between two firms at the heart of the multi-million euro Olympics ticket touting scandal, it was admitted last night.

…Amid allegations by Brazilian police that THG [part of the Marcus Evans Group] has been involved in a decade-long global ticket touting scandal it has attempted to cover-up by “camouflaging” increased prices by including hospitality services, the company initially denied any connection to Pro10.

However, a THG spokesman last night told the Irish Examiner it has “close commercial links” with the smaller firm.

“There may well have been a close commercial relationship between Pro10 and THG because that is a normal thing when they are doing big things in Rio,” said the spokesman. “These guys [Pro10], I am not excusing it and I do not know the answer, but these guys are a small company, when this news broke they didn’t know how to handle it.”

Meanwhile, The Irish Times reports:

When the Irish Times rang Pro10’s Lucan office this week it was redirected to a voicemail where the message noted that the voicemail was full. It went on to say: “Thank you for calling Marcus Evans. Our office is now closed.”

When contacted, a spokesman for Pro10 Sports Management said it too was “puzzled” as to how the reference to Marcus Evans appeared on a phone line which was supposed to have been run by it.

He said the number in question had been shut down and expressed surprise it was now live again. He stressed that Pro10 was not affiliated to the Marcus Evans Group.

And in a separate article:

Pro10, which was established by two Irish football agents and a Dublin mortgage broker shortly before being awarded the Olympic ticketing contract, says it handled all Rio ticket enquiries itself during Irish office hours.

…“Outside of these hours, and because of the time difference between Ireland and Brazil, the Pro10 phone line diverted to the THG phone line as this phone line was manned round the clock and could deal with any collection queries [in Rio] for Pro10 customers,” it said.

Pro10 insists it has no commercial relationship with THG and the UK company was not paid for manning its phone lines. It also insists neither THG nor Mr Mallon were paid for acting as the point of contact for tickets collection for Pro10 customers in Rio.

Close ties between firms at heart of Olympics ticket touting scandal revealed (Daniel McConnell and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner)

What is the story with the Olympics ticketing controversy? (Conor Pope, Irish Times)

THG manned tickets hotline for Pro10 ‘to ensure 24-hour cover’ (Mark Paul, Tom Hennigan, Irish Times)

Previously: Fresh Scalps



Pat Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland and a OCI statement this afternoon on the Rio ticket brouhaha.

“What I can tell you very clearly is that there is no impropriety whatsoever from anyone in the OCI or myself in the dealing of tickets and I want to reassure you on that 100%,” Pat Hickey said.

He fully expects that the OCI will come out of this with a clean bill of health.

“I would of course be very sorry for any embarrassment caused to Ireland in this issue. I intend to rectify it as soon as I can,” he added.

The OCI president said he had no advance knowledge of the controversy and found out about it from the media….

No impropriety in OCI regarding tickets – Hickey (RTÉ)

Updated Statement from OCI Re. Ticketing Issues – Thursday 11 August 2016 (OCI)

Previously: The Golden Tickets



From top: Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony ticket; Irish Olympic chief Pat Hickey and ID for Kevin Mallon

Irishman Kevin James Mallon, one of the heads at hospitality provider THG Sports, was arrested with tickets for the Rio Games..

Mallon is accused of conspiracy and helping sell tickets illegally.

The then-CEO of the same company, James Sinton, was arrested in 2014 as part of the investigation into the alleged World Cup ticket scam, police said.

Stephen Hickey, the son of OCI president Pat Hickey, worked as a manager for THG Sports during the 2012 games. There is no suggestion that the Hickeys are involved in this current investigation.


THG Sports chief executive James Sinton was arrested during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and accused by police of heading up a “ticketing mafia”. He was later freed after paying a fine and left the country.

In 2012, former footballer Romário, now a Brazilian senator, accused Pat Hickey of being involved in ticket touting for the 2012 Summer Games and the 2014 Winter Games. He said Pat Hickey was the link between the IOC and firms selling tickets on the black market. Pat Hickey dismissed the accusations.

Face of Irish executive arrested over alleged sale of €3m official tickets at Rio Olympics (Independent.ie)

Inquiry into alleged sale of Irish tickets for Olympics (Irish Times)

‘Immediate investigation’ into alleged fraudulent selling of Irish tickets (RTÉ)

Previously: OCI Appoint Ticketing Agency For 2012 Games (OC!)

Pics: AFP