Monday 5 December 2016

Hickey signed up 'tout' firm to sell tickets for next Olympics

Cathal McMahon and Matt Sandy

Published 09/09/2016 | 02:30

Pat Hickey’s OCI selected the company at the centre of the Rio touting affair as its ticket agent for the next two Olympics. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
Pat Hickey’s OCI selected the company at the centre of the Rio touting affair as its ticket agent for the next two Olympics. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Pat Hickey's Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) selected the company at the centre of the Rio touting affair as its ticket agent for the next two Olympics, the Irish Independent can reveal.

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Marcus Evans-owned THG previously acted as the Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) for the OCI at the London Games in 2012 and the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. The company was nominated to manage the OCI's tickets for the Rio Games but was rejected by organisers.

Now it has emerged that THG will manage the national committee's allocation for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018, and the Tokyo Summer Games in 2020.

This is despite the Public Prosecutor's office in Rio formally laying charges before a judge in relation to former OCI president Pat Hickey and THG director Kevin Mallon for their roles in alleged ticket touting during the recent Olympics.

A well-placed source revealed the decision to appoint THG was taken before police arrested Mr Mallon on August 5 and seized 823 tickets - many of which had been issued to the OCI - from his hotel room in Rio. Just 12 days later, police arrested Mr Hickey.

In a statement to the Irish Independent, an OCI spokesperson said: "The OCI ATR for the Pyeongchang Games is THG [who were accepted by the Pyeongchang organising committee].

"However, in recent weeks the OCI wrote to THG putting them on notice that if any wrongdoing was found in the investigation of THG and Pro10 in the context of the Rio Olympics that the OCI would notify the Pyeongchang organising committee of same and THG could risk losing the contract."

Meanwhile, police in Brazil named OCI sports director Martin Burke as a new suspect in their ticket touting investigation. Mr Burke is Irish and a well-known canoeist and cyclist. Full story, Pages 2-3

Irish Independent

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