Friday 15 December 2017

OCI promises to put focus back on the athletes

OCI President Sarah Keane. Picture: Frank McGrath
OCI President Sarah Keane. Picture: Frank McGrath
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) President Sarah Keane has vowed to restore the reputation of the organisation.

Almost one year on from the ticketing scandal at the Olympics in Rio, the fallout continues as former president Pat Hickey continues to face ticket-touting allegations in Brazil, charges the Dubliner denies.

The cost of the affair to the OCI has been more than €1.5m.

Ms Keane (43) was elected to replace Mr Hickey in February.

Speaking to the Irish Independent ahead of the Council's Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week, she revealed her plans to restore confidence and put the Olympic focus back where it should be - on Ireland's competitors.

For her, giving athletes a strong voice in the OCI was a good starting point.

"We've just established the athletes' commission. We have nine members on that from a range of different sports, different genders, winter sports, summer sports and they've all put themselves forward.

"So we're excited about that," she said.

While the idea isn't new and there have been athletes' commissions in the past, Ms Keane said they hadn't worked well.

She explained her hope was that this would help to empower the sportspeople.

One difference is that a member of the commission will sit on the board of the OCI as a full, legal director.

"They'll be at the table for all the decisions of the organisation," she explained.

"It's to ensure that the voice of the athlete is heard in all the decisions of the organisation."

Ms Keane also vowed to bring in term limits for the executive team - a recommendation from a report by consultancy firm Deloitte. "Term limits make sure nobody can be there forever and be the main ruler of something, including myself. So that will be vital," she said.

Mr Hickey had been in the role for three decades.

Irish Independent

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