Friday 9 December 2016

Crisis management team appointed by OCI to lead response to Rio Olympics scandals

Alan O'Keeffe & Cathal McMahon

Published 22/08/2016 | 03:05

OCI President Pat Hickey celebrates The O'Donovan brothers' silver medal performance in Rio. Photo: INPHO/James Crosbie
OCI President Pat Hickey celebrates The O'Donovan brothers' silver medal performance in Rio. Photo: INPHO/James Crosbie

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has appointed a three-person crisis management subcommittee to lead their response to scandals at the Rio Olympics.

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The OCI has also promised to “appoint an international accountancy firm to conduct an independent review of ticketing arrangements in Rio”.

On Sunday evening the Executive Committee of the OCI met in person for the first time since the Games began in Brazil over two weeks ago.

The meeting, which took place in Arthur Cox Solicitors office in Dublin ran into the early hours of the morning and a statement was released shortly after 2.30am.

The group met under the cloud of recent scandals at the Olympics.

Former President Pat Hickey remains in custody in Brazil's largest prison over an alleged ticket touting ring while a judge in Rio has issued an order to seize the passports of six members of the committee – including John Delaney, the OCI vice-president.

Boxer Michael O'Reilly was sent home from Rio after it emerged that he had failed a drug test shortly before jetting out to Brazil.

In a statement the OCI confirmed: “The Committee discussed recent events in Rio regarding ticketing arrangements at the Games which it takes very seriously.”

FAI chief executive John Delaney (left) and Emma English with Pat Hickey (centre) at the European Championships this summer Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
FAI chief executive John Delaney (left) and Emma English with Pat Hickey (centre) at the European Championships this summer Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

It went on to list three recommendations:

  • They appointed a three person crisis management subcommittee to lead the Council’s response to the recent events in Rio. This group comprises Sarah Keane (Swim Ireland), Prof Ciaran O’Cathain (Athletics Ireland) and Robert Norwood (Snowsports Association of Ireland);
     
  • The subcommittee will appoint an international accountancy firm to conduct an independent review of ticketing arrangements in Rio. The firm will be selected this week and its work will begin immediately and its terms of reference will be published;
     
  • The report prepared by the firm will be presented to the judge who will chair the State inquiry into the OCI’s handling of ticketing at the Rio Olympics.

Members of the OCI board were locked in a meeting in Dublin into the early hours of Monday morning.

Dermot Sherlock, formerly assistant honorary general secretary of the OCI, sharply criticised the treatment of Mr Hickey by Brazilian authorities.

The events surrounding Mr Hickey's arrest were "a total and absolute disgrace without a shadow of a doubt" he said.

The legal system was "very different" to the Irish system. "This would not have happened in Ireland," he said.

Others seen attending the meeting at Arthur Cox solicitors included Sonia O'Sullivan, Sarah Keane and Tommy Murphy.

Mr Sherlock added: "This meeting is to find out what the present situation is as far as the OCI is concerned.

"This is the first meeting where we've had a chance to get even most of the executive present. I would like to know what has happened in fact. I know some things were said, which don't seem to hold water.

"I would like to hear from people who have been there."

Sports Ministers Shane Ross and Patrick O'Donovan are expected to meet the Attorney General today before approaching a retired judge to head up a non-statutory investigation.

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