News Irish News

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Hickey resigns from Olympic board but hopes for 'future role'

Pat Hickey. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Pat Hickey. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Rebecca Lumley

Former Olympic chief Pat Hickey has formally resigned from the International Olympic Committee's executive board.

Mr Hickey (72) was arrested on August 17 last year and held for almost five months in Brazil after becoming embroiled in a ticket-selling controversy at last year's Rio Games.

In a statement issued by the IOC to its Twitter account, it confirms that Mr Hickey will resign with "immediate effect".

"Patrick Hickey has informed the IOC of his resignation as a member of the IOC Executive Board with immediate effect.

"In his resignation letter, Mr Hickey emphasised that he wants to protect the IOC and to ensure that the interests of the national Olympic committees are represented on the Executive Board," it said.

"He also reiterated his innocence in respect of all charges and confirmed that he hopes to exercise his functions as an IOC member in the future."

The IOC confirmed Mr Hickey's successor will be appointed during the forthcoming IOC session in Lima, Peru.

It stated that while Mr Hickey's self-suspension from all other IOC functions will remain, "the IOC reiterates that the presumption of innocence prevails".

Mr Hickey is due to go on trial in Rio de Janeiro on November 29. He has maintained he is innocent of all charges.

A source close to Mr Hickey previously said that he was "looking forward" to the trial because he insists his name will be cleared.

Trial

Mr Hickey faces a series of charges, including ticket touting.

The former Olympic Council of Ireland president was given permission to return to Ireland last Christmas, citing medical grounds, and on payment of a bond of €410,000 to the courts. Prosecutor Marcos Kac said that if Mr Hickey did not return to Brazil for trial, that his bond would be retained.

However, his legal team have suggested their client may testify by video link, at the discretion of the judge.

Justice Guilherme Schilling Duarte published a statement on the Rio courts system to set the date and stated only accused Mr Hickey and a co-accused Kevin Mallon had responded to criminal accusations.

Both have declared they are innocent of charges against them. A Brazilian woman arrested alongside Mr Mallon has not responded.

In his written statement, Mr Justice Schilling Duarte said that the respective defence teams of Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon had "confused themselves" with the material substance of the case. Both defence teams argued that no crime was committed by their clients, and cited a lack of evidence.

Inquiry

Meanwhile, the retired Irish judge who investigated aspects of the Olympic ticketing controversy may be asked to inquire into the granting of contracts for future ticket sales to a company at the centre of the debacle.

Following the publication of Judge Carroll Moran's report into the tickets affair, it emerged Mr Hickey had agreed that hospitality firm THG would be the national body's official ticket agent for the next 10 years.

The deal was not passed by the OCI's executive committee, which is understood to be getting legal advice on whether it can be declared void.

The Oireachtas Sports Committee decided the matter needs further examination.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News