Sport Team Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Olympic Council board 'split over new report into how it was run'

Pat Hickey Picture: Steve Humphreys
Pat Hickey Picture: Steve Humphreys

Cathal McMahon, Shane Phelan and Ryan Nugent

The board of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) is understood to be divided over the findings of a report on corporate governance commissioned in the wake of the Rio ticketing scandal.

The OCI appointed Deloitte in September to conduct an independent review of how the organisation was managed.

This is separate to the report being compiled by auditors Grant Thornton, which is focused on ticketing.

A spokesperson for the OCI confirmed that work on the Deloitte report has concluded.

"A draft report has been received by the OCI from Deloitte. It will be examined by the executive board at their next meeting on Thursday."

A source explained a number of governance changes were recommended, including a shortening of the period in which individuals can serve in certain positions.

But it is understood that not all of the suggested changes have found favour.

Some board members are understood to have reservations about certain recommendations - and a source said it remained unclear whether the findings would be unanimously accepted at the meeting.

OCI director and former Ireland Olympic boxing captain Darren O'Neill told the Irish Independent that he is looking forward to getting some answers at tonight's meeting.

"We're obviously looking for the reports because we want a clear picture of what happened and where the issues may have arisen," he said.

Fellow director Thomas Murphy said he is expecting to find out a lot more at the meeting. "We will probably get a report of some description or it could be another sit-down of 'where do we move from here?'.

"I don't really know (what's happening). I'll know tomorrow with the hope of God."

Read More: OCI's probe into Rio 2016 ticket scandal facing delays

He added: "You have to wait until there's something proven to be wrong. We don't know yet. I won't judge it until I hear what the judges have to say."

FAI chief executive John Delaney, who tendered his resignation from the board on Tuesday night, will not be at the meeting.

In a statement, he again insisted that he had no role or involvement in any ticketing arrangements for Rio. Sources said Mr Delaney will co-operate with any of the ongoing inquiries but will not attend any more board meetings.

Former OCI president Pat Hickey is currently being investigated by police in Rio de Janeiro over alleged involvement in ticket-touting at the Olympics.

Mr Hickey (71) was arrested at his hotel in Rio during the 2016 Olympics on August 17.

He and THG director Kevin Mallon are facing charges of ticket-touting, illicit marketing and money-laundering in Brazil. Both deny all allegations made against them in relation to ticketing at the event.

Lawyers for Mr Hickey were last night keeping quiet about a pending legal challenge to his continued stay in Rio.

Lawyers were expected to argue that if his trial was not likely to happen soon, then Mr Hickey would get his passport back on condition he return to Brazil for the case.

A source said: "In this scenario, he would be back in Ireland very soon and he would resume his role as president of the OCI. He is essentially at a crossroads."

Police and prosecutors in Brazil said they had no confirmation of this. The decision would be made by a judge.

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