Thursday 8 December 2016

Inquiry to cover London Games as both O'Brien and Delaney still silent

Kevin Doyle, Martin Grant and Cormac McQuinn

Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30

Willie O’Brien. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Willie O’Brien. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The judge-led inquiry into the Rio ticket scandal will be extended to include the London Olympics in 2012, the Irish Independent has learned.

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Government figures believe that for the investigation to carry real weight it will have to delve deeper into the links between ticketing firm THG and the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI).

An inquiry chairperson could be appointed as early as tomorrow at which point immediate work will begin on finalising the terms of reference.

It comes as the OCI moved to establish their own probe which will be carried out by an international accountancy firm.

A five-hour meeting of the OCI's executive committee, which went on into the early hours of yesterday morning, also appointed a three-person 'crisis management committee' to lead the council's response.

Among those who attended that meeting in Dublin were acting president Willie O'Brien and FAI chief John Delaney, whose passports are wanted by Brazilian police.

Also at the meeting were Sonia O'Sullivan, Sarah Keane, Tommy Murphy and Dermot Sherlock.

Both O'Brien and Delaney have failed to comment on the controversy since it was revealed that authorities successfully applied for a warrant to seize their documents.

When contacted by the Irish Independent last night, Mr O'Brien refused to state if he supports Pat Hickey, who remains in Bangu prison in Brazil. He also did not respond to questions when asked why he believes a Brazilian judge authorised a warrant to seize his passport.

Mr Delaney was uncontactable yesterday but it is ­understood that he attended work as normal and chaired a meeting of the FAI executive.

It had been anticipated that the soccer boss would travel to Rio at some point during the Olympics. However, he was at a Dundalk FC game in Aviva Stadium last Wednesday.

Examination

Mr Delaney also attended another soccer-related event in Portlaoise on Saturday night.

The OCI has said it will co-operate fully with the Government inquiry being set up by ministers Shane Ross and Patrick O'Donovan.

The judge will be selected before the final terms of reference are agreed - but it is understood that the ministers both see value in at least a partial examination of the ticketing situation for London 2012.

The inquiry will have a three-month deadline for producing a report. Opposition parties have been asked to submit any suggestions they have in relation to its remit by this evening.

In a statement issued after their meeting last night, the OCI said that the findings of their own internal review will be handed over to the State inquiry.

Meanwhile, the OCI has confirmed it paid for the flights and accommodation arrangements for executive committee members Willie O'Brien, Kevin Kilty, and Dermot Henihan. Mr Kilty and Mr Henihan have had their passports seized by Brazilian police and are expected to be interviewed by police today.

Mr O'Brien had left Brazil before the warrant for his passport was obtained by police.

"The travel costs for all accredited members of the OCI delegation falls under the OCI's overall Rio 2016 Games budget, which will be made available publicly in this year's annual accounts," said a spokeswoman.

"It should be noted that these costs are subsidised significantly by the Olympic Organising Committee, as is the standard procedure at any Games."

The OCI also stated that Mr Hickey's travel and accommodation, and that of his wife, has been footed by the International Olympic Council (IOC).

A spokeswoman added: "He was in Rio in his capacity as a member of the IOC Executive Board. The OCI paid for Mr and Mrs Hickey's flights and will be reimbursed by the IOC. The cost of the rooms was covered by the IOC directly. Other members of the Hickey family were invited at Mr Hickey's own cost."

Irish Independent

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