The task ahead for Olympic Council
The newly elected officers of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) have one priority, to excise every trace of the insidious influence of its former president, Pat Hickey, and that includes doing everything to have him permanently removed from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) where he still serves, although he has temporarily stood down since Rio.
That latter body funds the OCI to the tune of 60pc, but since all sponsorship is now gone and Minister for Sport Shane Ross is withholding grant aid totalling €500,000 to date, the IOC is now the only source of funds for Irish Olympic activity. This at a time when the OCI could be facing legal bills from Hickey in Rio as well as the cost of public relations and other reporting services, currently standing at around €1m, associated with the ticket scandal.
By far the greatest challenge is the set of agreements put in place by Hickey with THG to be the OCI's official ticket seller at all Summer and Winter Olympics until 2026. The first of these agreements fell apart last year in Rio when it was rejected by the local authorities who suspected THG was involved in ticket touting. Hickey and THG boss Marcus Evans, with whom he had a relationship described last week by Judge Carroll Moran as "long-standing and to their mutual benefit which Mr Hickey sought to conceal", cooked up a scheme to overcome this setback by establishing what Mr Ross called "a sham... a front and a cover" - Pro10. It didn't work. The Brazilian authorities saw through it and sent in the police instead.