Sunday 11 December 2016

Irish football chief considers standing down as Olympics official

Published 22/09/2016 | 17:36

John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, insists he had nothing to do with Olympic tickets
John Delaney, chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, insists he had nothing to do with Olympic tickets

Football Association of Ireland (FAI) chief John Delaney is considering standing down as a senior Olympics official after a Brazilian judge withdrew a warrant issued for his passport.

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In a lengthy statement, the football boss stated he had no role or involvement in the Olympic Council of Ireland's (OCI) handling of tickets for the recent Rio games, which is at the centre of an alleged £2.2 million scam.

Mr Delaney is also a vice-president of the OCI.

Brazilian prosecutors have filed charges against OCI president Patrick Hickey and nine others for ticket scalping, conspiracy and ambush marketing.

It is alleged tickets were illegally transferred from an authorised ticket reseller called Pro 10 to a hospitality provider which was not authorised called THG Sports, owned by Ipswich Town FC owner Marcus Evans.

Kevin Mallon, a director of THG Sports, is facing the same charges and must remain in Brazil.

All have denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Delaney said he felt the time was appropriate to "clarify certain issues" to what he described as the "football family".

"The Brazilian police have never contacted me in relation to any aspect of OCI business and a Brazilian judge has withdrawn a warrant previously issued for my passport," he said.

"I had absolutely no role or involvement in the OCI's handling of ticketing arrangements for the Rio Olympic Games and no knowledge or awareness of PRO 10 or its position as the OCI's ticket reseller.

"This appointment was not brought to the OCI Board's attention."

Mr Delaney added: "As a volunteer Board member which is not a day-to-day role and due to my primary role and football commitments, I was in a position to attend only five of the 13 Board meetings prior to the Rio Olympics."

Mr Delaney said he completely supported the OCI's commitment to co-operate with a number of inquiries and investigations into the selling of Olympics tickets "and will play my part fully in all these matters".

"As previously stated my primary role and absolute priority is the continued development and growth of football in Ireland in my role as CEO of the FAI," he added.

"In the coming period, I will also reconsider my position as the FAI's volunteer member of the OCI Executive Committee."

The Irish government has ordered a judge-led inquiry into the scandal which will also probe ticket sales for London 2012, the 2014 winter games in Sochi and any other previous games that come under suspicion.

It is expected to take three months and will investigate "the receipt, distribution and sale of tickets'' allocated by the International Olympic Committee and how the OCI dealt with those tickets.

This will include "any resale of any tickets as part of hospitality packages''.

Press Association

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