Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ten things we learned from the Moran report into the Rio Olympics ticketing scandal

Pat Hickey, inset Kevin Mallon
Pat Hickey, inset Kevin Mallon
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

On Monday the long anticipated report by Judge Caroll Moran into the Rio Olympics ticket scandal was finally published. Here we distill the 226-page report down to the ten key findings:

1. THG was rejected as a ticket agent for the Rio Games on the basis that the local organisers believed they were promoting the sale of unauthorised hospitality packages and that they were under police investigation for activities during the World Cup in 2014.

2. Pro10 provided an inadequate service as an Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) to such an extent that it was unfit for purpose. It appears Pro10 was not a genuine ATR but its involvement disguised the continuing role of THG and Marcus Evans as the real or de facto ATR.

3. Pat Hickey and THG boss Marcus Evans had “concealed relationship” which was of mutual benefit to both the OCI and THG.

4. A rights fee of $1m was paid by THG to the OCI as part of the deal to allow them be Ireland’s ATR at the London and Sochi Games. The judge said this was done “without explanation being given at the time as to how it would recoup this sum”.

5. The investigation was “hampered by the absence of co-operation” from key players including Pat Hickey, THG, the International Olympic Committee and the Rio Organising Committee. “The provenance and destination of each ticket and the consideration given for them at each step in their journey were never revealed to the inquiry.”

6. The OCI showed “more concern for the commercial interests of the ATR than for the interests of the athletes, their friends, relatives and supporters or those of the spectating public”, according to the report.

7. A full commission of investigation should not be established for a variety of reasons including that it “would be disproportionate in terms of cost of time and money to establish”.

8. FAI boss John Delaney was the person to formally propose that Pat Hickey receive an honorarium of €60,000 a year. The judge describes the allowance as questionable, saying the amount was “not consistent with the interpretation of an honorarium as a nominal payment to honour a voluntary contribution”.

9. Pat Hickey’s leadership style was “characterised by strong personal control over decision making”. “It was an autocratic style of leadership. It allowed for a situation where there was an over dependence on the power of one individual, an unhealthy situation in any organisation.”

10. The Inquiry had a concern at a possible absence of control in the operation of the OCI bank accounts. It found best accountancy practices were not followed by a body in receipt of taxpayers’ money.

Timeline: An Olympic scandal involving $1m deals, private jets, chaotic management and arrest beamed around the world

2009, July 9: Former OCI president Pat Hickey receives an email from THG boss and Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans proposing to become the ticket agent for each Olympic Games up to 2020.

2010

March 5: THG lodges $1m into the OCI's bank account as part of its bid to become the ticket agent for London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

June 22: FAI boss John Delaney proposes that the OCI begins paying Mr Hickey an honorarium of €60,000 a year.

The judge said it was questionable whether the allowance, paid to the president between 2010 and 2016, was within the spirit of the organisation as a small voluntary operation.

2011

December 16: Mr Hickey reports to the OCI that THG has offered $600,000 to be the ticket agent for the Rio Games in 2016.

2013

February 5: OCI's Executive Committee decides to start excluding its CEO from meetings.

2015

May 5: Rio Organising Committee rejects the OCI's application to appoint THG as its ticket agent. It has suspicions the company is linked to ticket touting and unauthorised hospitality events.

May 6: Mr Evans sends Mr Hickey an email with the subject line "My Thoughts" in which he suggests an alternative to THG.

May 20: A business called Pro10 is registered.

The judge concludes Pro10 "was not a genuine Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) but its involvement disguised the continuing role of THG and Marcus Evans as the real or de facto ATR".

June 22: Contract signed to allow Pro10 be the OCI's ticket agent for a fee of $100,000. The judge believes that the OCI is still owed $50,000 from this element of the deal by Pro10.

2016

April 20: Mr Hickey flies to Geneva on Mr Evans's private jet.

August 5: Just hours before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio, Kevin Mallon of THG is arrested by police.

Officers seized a number of tickets from a hotel room but the judge was unable to state how many or what their intended destination might have been.

August 10: Email from Mr Evans to Mr Hickey asking for his thoughts on a reply from Pro10 to queries from the Rio Organising Committee. This was drafted by THG.

August 15: A Brazilian judge issues warrants for the arrest of four THG executives, including Mr Evans.

August 17: Mr Hickey is arrested during a 6am raid on his hotel. Images of him in a dressing gown are beamed around the world.

August 21: Closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

September 6: Mr Hickey is charged with ticket touting, forming a criminal association/cartel and illicit marketing by Brazilian authorities. He could face up to seven years in jail but has repeatedly refuted the charges.

September 19: The Moran Inquiry is established by Transport Minister Shane Ross with a deadline for its report set at December 12.

2017

August 14: Moran Report due to be published by the minister.

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