Tuesday 24 January 2017

OCI needs to avoid 'keeping its head down'

Published 09/09/2016 | 02:30

Basketball Ireland chief executive Bernard O’Byrne: 'The OCI needs to begin setting the agenda proactively and not be perceived as keeping its head down' Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Basketball Ireland chief executive Bernard O’Byrne: 'The OCI needs to begin setting the agenda proactively and not be perceived as keeping its head down' Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

The head of one of the largest sporting bodies in the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) says the organisations needs to be "proactive" on reform in the wake of the ticketing scandal.

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Basketball Ireland chief executive Bernard O'Byrne is demanding answers from the OCI about the ticketing controversy.

"The OCI needs to begin setting the agenda proactively and not be perceived as keeping its head down," he said.

Mr O'Byrne was also critical of former OCI president Pat Hickey's style of running the organisation.

"At every meeting I have ever been at, when a motion was agreed or passed, the chairman would simply say 'that's agreed' or 'that's passed'.

"They did things differently in the OCI, where Pat Hickey looked at the gathered delegates for a moment and in almost biblical tones decreed, 'let it be so'.

"The manner and style of the utterance of these four words conveyed the impression that, even if everyone in the room had voted unanimously, it was not actually passed until Pat said, 'let it be so'," he said.

Read more: Profile: Bernard O'Byrne - How former FAI chief championed ill-fated Eircom Park project

Mr O'Byrne says there is currently a "God-like aura" emerging from Rio, which is "spreading a semi-paralysis on the officials in crisis mode" in the OCI.

"With a president under arrest and facing charges, and both vice-presidents formally requested to turn in their passports by a sovereign state, decision-making must be a real challenge at the moment," he said.

Irish Independent

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