Sunday 18 March 2018

Pat Hickey asked that THG be appointed 'sub agent' for Rio 2016 after organisers rejected bid

Mr Hickey claimed IOC chief Thomas Bach was "in acceptance with" plan

Cathal McMahon and Shane Phelan

Pat Hickey wrote to senior International Olympic (IOC) officials proposing that ‘tout agency’ THG become a ‘sub agent’ for Rio 2016 after they were refused by the organising committee.

In emails, released by Rio de Janeiro police, Mr Hickey allegedly set out a “strategy” that the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) be its own ticket reseller for Rio 2016.

He proposed that THG, in its role as a sub agent, would be granted “all the same rights” as an authorised ticket reseller (ATR).

Mr Hickey allegedly wrote to top IOC officials on April 10, 2015, and said: “I also had a telephone conversation yesterday with President [Thomas] Bach [of the IOC] and outlined the above strategy to him and he confirmed he was in acceptance with it.”

Mr Hickey, who temporarily stood down as President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) following his arrest on August 17, is currently in Brazil where he is awaiting trial.

Mr Hickey, THG director Kevin Mallon and eight others are facing charges of of ticket-touting, ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association at the Rio Olympics.

Pat Hickey. Photo: Reuters
Pat Hickey. Photo: Reuters

The OCI had originally nominated THG as its ATR for the Rio Olympics but this was rejected by organisers after police alleged they were touting tickets at the World Cup in 2014.

Irish company Pro10 was set up on April 28, 2015 - 18 days after Mr Hickey’s email to IOC officials - and awarded the OCI contract a short time later.

Police in Rio allege that Pro10 was created to act as a bridge to get tickets from the OCI to THG.

According to this latest email Hickey wrote to Christophe Dubi, Executive Director of The Olympic Games at the IOC, Howard Stupp, the director of legal affairs at the IOC, Pere Miro, Deputy Director General for Relations with the Olympic Movement, and Sidney Levy, CEO of Rio 2016, concerning THG’s potential status as Ireland’s official ticket reseller.

He started out by thanking the officials for their “help and assistance in bringing this to a conclusion”.

The 71-year-old went on to outline “an agreement” which he claimed he had formulated following conversations with Mr Dubi and Deputy Director General for Relations with the Olympic Movement Pere Miro over the previous fortnight.

Mr Hickey went on to outline four points. Firstly he asked that Rio 2016 are willing to appoint the National Olympic Committee of Ireland (OCI) as the ATR for the Rio Games.

Next, he wrote: “Rio 2016 will have no objection to the NOC of Irteland appointing a sub agent for the Games which will be THG, and as per the ATR agreement Rio 2016 will approve the sub agent as will the IOC and that Rio will fully co-operate with the sub agent.”

He said that Rio will give THG the “same rights and obligations as an ATR”.

His third point was that the IOC will issue a “letter of comfort” to THG stating that this will not jeopardise them in making an application to be an ATR for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

His fourth and final point was that the OCI should not suffer any loss of ticket allocation due to this delay.

Mr Hickey went on to say that once the points were clarified and confirmed THG would write to Rio 2016 cancelling their previous request. “Therefore they would not have been declined as an ATR”.

Mr Hickey concluded by claiming he had a conversation with President Thomas Bach the previous day and “he [Bach] confirmed he was in acceptance with it”.

Rio police are currently looking to speak to President Bach as a witness over emails between him and Mr Hickey surrounding ticket allocations.

A spokesman for the IOC said: "You will understand that we are not in a position to comment further since this is currently the subject of a legal procedure. As we said previously, the IOC is ready to cooperate to clarify this matter."

Mr Hickey denies all wrong-doing. In a statement, issued on Sunday, he said that he has belief in the Brazilian judicial system and is confident that he will be discharged of all accusations.

"I have just received formal notification from the Brazilian authorities of the charges laid against me," he said.

"For clarity, I am not under house arrest as - like with so many things with this case - has been misreported by the media.

"I intend to face all the charges and to fight each and every one of them.

"I am completely innocent of all such charges and I will also vigorously defend my good name and character that I have spent my lifetime building through voluntary service for numerous sporting bodies.

"This has been a life-changing experience for me, my wife, my four children and my five grandchildren and my priority is to recover my health and see my family as soon as possible.

"I have been very heartened and humbled by the outpouring of support, letters, texts and emails from the thousands of people in Ireland and from the international sporting world."

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