Friday 23 February 2018

'We do not ask for mercy but for a human approach' - Olympic officials call for Pat Hickey to be allowed return home

Former OCI chief Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Former OCI chief Pat Hickey. Photo: Steve Humphreys Newsdesk Newsdesk

A number of Olympic officials have said that former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey should be allowed to return home on humanitarian grounds.

Mr Hickey, who stood down as president of the OCI following his arrest on August 17 during the Rio Olympics, has been forced to remain in Brazil where he is facing ticket-touting charges.

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.

A number of Hickey's former colleagues spoke up on his behalf at the  Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) general assembly in Doha today.

“Patrick Hickey is still detained in Brazil and not allowed to leave the country,” said Janez Kocijancic, who is currently serving as acting president of the European Olympic Committee in Hickey's absence.

“He was charged with criminal offences and we do not think he committed them.

“He is 71 and has heart problems. We hope he will be allowed home to prepare to prove his innocence.

“We do not ask for mercy but for a human approach.”

The ANOC president, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, referred to Hickey as our “dear VP” while the IOC president Thomas Bach also touched on the subject of Hickey’s case in his keynote address.

“Patrick Hickey is still in Brazil concerning the sale of tickets,” Bach said. “We have to say, clearly, that as long as there is no result, our colleague enjoys the presumption of innocence.”

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