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Saturday 10 December 2016

'I was never active in the daily running of OCI' - says Delaney as he steps down

Alan O'Keeffe and Kevin Doyle

Published 26/10/2016 | 02:30

FAI chief executive John Delaney Picture: Sportsfile
FAI chief executive John Delaney Picture: Sportsfile

John Delaney resigned his executive committee position at the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) last night.

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Mr Delaney, who held the position of second vice president of the organisation, said he had "no role or involvement in the OCI's handling of ticketing arrangements for the Rio Olympic Games".

The OCI was rocked by the arrest of its president, Pat Hickey, in Rio de Janeiro. Mr Hickey, who has temporarily stepped down from his position, is on bail in Brazil facing charges of criminal organisation, ticket touting, ambush marketing, larceny, money laundering and tax evasion.

Mr Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), published a statement on the association's website last night.

"Having given the matter careful consideration, I have made the decision to step down as the FAI's volunteer member of the 13-person OCI committee board, with immediate effect," Mr Delaney, pictured, said.

The reasons for his decision included his wish to focus on his role as CEO of the FAI as his top priority.

"As an executive committee member of the OCI, my role was never active in the day-to-day running of the OCI. I was in a position to attend only five of the last 13 board meetings prior to the Rio Olympics.

"I had no role or involvement in the OCI's handling of ticketing arrangements for the Rio Olympic Games.

"During my time as a member of the OCI executive committee, I have always looked to the best interests of the Olympic movement, and in recent months I have worked extensively with the other OCI committee members to ensure that all proper steps have been taken by the OCI, following the issues that arose in Rio.

"As part of this, I have fully engaged and co-operated with investigations being carried out by Grant Thornton, who were appointed to review ticketing arrangements; and Deloitte, whose brief is to examine governance issues within the OCI.

"I will, of course, also provide all assistance sought by Mr Justice Carroll Moran as part of the Government-appointed inquiry."

Sources told the Irish Independent that Mr Delaney has been considering his position for some time.

They said: "A lot of people in football circles were keen for him to step down because they don't want to be damaged by the controversy at the OCI."

Acting president of the OCI, Willie O'Brien, said in a statement last night: "This evening I accepted with regret the resignation of Mr John Delaney from his position as vice president of the Olympic Council of Ireland. I would like to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the Irish Olympic movement in his time as a member of the executive committee and I wish him well for the future."

Irish Independent

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