Sunday 11 December 2016

Hickey is 'humbled' by support he got from Ireland

Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30

Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, Pat Hickey, has said the alleged ticket-touting scandal has been a "life-changing experience" and that he has been "humbled" by the support from thousands of people in Ireland.

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The 71-year-old said in a statement to the Irish Independent that he is completely innocent of all charges formally laid against him in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and intends to fight "each and every one of them".

A judge ruled on Friday that Pat Hickey and THG director Kevin Mallon must stand trial over their alleged role in the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) ticketing affair in Rio.

Judge Juliana Leal de Melo, of the special Olympic court in Rio de Janeiro, accepted charges of money laundering, ticket touting and illicit marketing against Mr Hickey and THG director Kevin Mallon.

Mr Hickey (71) and Mr Mallon (36) have been given a curfew of 10pm every day and they have been ordered to report to the court on the 20th day of every month.

The judge also ordered that the passports of Mr Hickey and Mr Mallon be retained and both be impeded from leaving Brazil, for the foreseeable future.

Mr Hickey issued a statement yesterday and said that he has belief in the Brazilian judicial system and is confident that he will be discharged of all accusations.

"I have just received formal notification from the Brazilian authorities of the charges laid against me," he said.

"For clarity, I am not under house arrest as - like with so many things with this case - has been misreported by the media.

"I intend to face all the charges and to fight each and every one of them.

"I am completely innocent of all such charges and I will also vigorously defend my good name and character that I have spent my lifetime building through voluntary service for numerous sporting bodies.

"This has been a life-changing experience for me, my wife, my four children and my five grandchildren and my priority is to recover my health and see my family as soon as possible.

"I have been very heartened and humbled by the outpouring of support, letters, texts and emails from the thousands of people in Ireland and from the international sporting world."

Another eight people - some directors or employees of THG Sports and Pro 10 Sports Management - are also charged.

Irish Independent

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