Thursday 19 July 2018

OCI won't reveal if THG was compensated after contract ended

Former OCI president Pat Hickey Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former OCI president Pat Hickey Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ryan Nugent

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) will not reveal if a compensation settlement was included in its agreement to terminate its contract with ticketing agent THG.

Yesterday, the OCI and THG - the company at the centre of the Rio ticketing scandal - agreed to terminate the contract allowing THG to be its official ticket distributor for the Olympics. The contract was due to last up until the summer Games in 2026.

The agreement would have included both summer and winter Olympics in 2018, 2020, 2022, 2024 and 2026.

THG, which is owned by millionaire Marcus Evans, is understood to have agreed the deal with former OCI president Pat Hickey in January of last year.

In August, the OCI confirmed that THG had been refused permission by the International Olympic Council (IOC) as an official ticketing agent for the winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next year.

In a statement, the OCI said that both itself and THG had agreed that the termination of the contract was the most appropriate course of action.

However, when asked by the Irish Independent if there was a compensation package agreed with THG and what, if any, sum was involved, the OCI insisted that the "terms of agreement are confidential".

"Following a mediation carried out by former Supreme Court Judge Mr Justice Finnegan, THG and the Olympic Council of Ireland wish to announce they have reached an agreement to terminate the contracts agreed between the parties in 2016 that relate to the 2018-2026 Olympic Games," the statement read.

"OCI accepts these contracts were enforceable as between the parties and that THG fully intended performing its contractual obligations.

"Both parties agreed that with THG reducing its business activities in Ireland that this would be the most appropriate course of action in the interests of Irish athletes and the wider Irish public.

"THG has been the OCI's most significant commercial partner since coming on board in 2010. The OCI wishes to acknowledge THG's willingness to reach an amicable resolution in this matter."

Sports Minister Shane Ross welcomed the decision and insisted if other recommendations made by the Moran report on governance within the OCI were followed, full Government funding could be restored.

"We are now close to a position where we can restore normal funding arrangements so that the athletes will be top priority. Preparations for Tokyo 2020 must be the focus of attention for the OCI, Sport Ireland and the National Governing Bodies of Sport," he said.

Irish Independent

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