Hickey 'needs urgent heart surgery'
The acting head of Europe's top Olympic body said that its president, Pat Hickey, should be allowed to leave Brazil and return to Ireland because his health is deteriorating and he needs an urgent heart operation.
Mr Hickey is not permitted to leave Brazil, where he was arrested two months ago during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on ticket scalping charges and awaits a possible trial. Selling tickets at above face value is illegal in Brazil.
Mr Hickey, who has denied any wrongdoing, has temporarily stepped down from all his Olympic positions pending a resolution of his case. He was president of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), head of Ireland's national Olympic Committee and a member of the International Olympic Committee's powerful executive board.
"I am in contact with him personally," acting EOC president Janez Kocijancic said.
"He's 71. He's not in the best health. I think that the first step should be that he returns home for the heart surgery and the treatment."
The IOC also asked for his release on health grounds.
"The health of Mr Hickey is giving the IOC great concern. Mr Hickey requires immediate special treatment in relation to his condition," the IOC said.