OCI acting to remove Pat Hickey from Olympic positions

Board to agree to forward copy of report into ticketing scandal to IOC ethics body

Former OCI president Pat Hickey. on Tuesday the Oireachtas committee on sport agreed that a formal inquiry should be launched into Mr Hickey’s deal with ticket reseller THG. Photograph: Humberto Ohana/AFP/Getty Images

Former OCI president Pat Hickey. on Tuesday the Oireachtas committee on sport agreed that a formal inquiry should be launched into Mr Hickey’s deal with ticket reseller THG. Photograph: Humberto Ohana/AFP/Getty Images

 

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) will today begin a process aimed at the removal of former OCI president Pat Hickey from his positions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

An OCI board meeting, scheduled to take place in Dublin, will agree to officially forward a copy of Mr Justice Carroll Moran’s report into the Rio ticketing scandal to the Lausanne-based IOC Ethics Commission.

The move is expected to prompt the commission to examine the findings of the report – particularly how Mr Hickey ran the Irish organisation during his presidency, from 1989 until last year, as well as the events surrounding the Rio Olympic Games, which led to his arrest.

The commission investigates complaints about IOC members raised in relation to ethical principles. It has the authority to propose sanctions to the IOC executive board and has, as recently as last year, suspended one of its elite Korean IOC members.

Mr Justice Moran found that the OCI had showed “more concern for the commercial interests of the authorised tickets resellers than for the interests of the athletes, their friends, relatives and supporters”.

‘Concealed relationship’

It also found Mr Hickey and Marcus Evans, the boss of THG – a ticket reseller rejected as unsuitable by the Rio organising committee – had a “concealed relationship” of mutual benefit to both the OCI and THG.

Following a string of scandals from IOC members, the powerful global sporting body is cracking down on what it perceives to be behaviour contrary to the guiding principles contained in its Olympic charter.

Maintaining his innocence, he has also stepped aside as vice-president of the Association of National Olympic Committees

The 73-year-old former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has been proposed as the new chair of the ethics commission, which is composed of nine members, no more than four of whom are active IOC members. At least two have no direct link with sport. Mr Ban will find out if his candidature is successful when the IOC membership votes in Lima, Peru, next month.

Mr Hickey has temporarily stepped aside from his seat on the executive board of the IOC following charges that include ticket-touting, ambush marketing, theft, tax evasion and money-laundering.

Maintaining his innocence, he has also stepped aside as vice-president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, the organisation that put up a court bond of €410,000, which allowed him to return from Rio to Dublin.

If Mr Hickey resumed his positions on the IOC it would allow him to be an ex-officio member of the OCI, albeit with no voting rights.

In 2016, IOC member Dae-Sung Moon was accused of plagiarism in his doctoral thesis on a sports discipline at Kookmin University. The ethics commission noted the damage to the reputation of the Olympic movement and provisionally suspended all the rights and functions linked to Dae-Sung Moon’s IOC membership until the Korean supreme court pronounced a final verdict.

Mr Hickey will have the right to due process in any investigation, although – on the advice of his legal team – he did not co-operate with Mr Justice Moran. Nor did the IOC.

Formal inquiry

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Oireachtas committee on sport agreed that a formal inquiry should be launched into Mr Hickey’s deal with THG.

Mr Hickey signed an agreement that binds the OCI to THG to 2026 but did not bring the decision before the executive board.

The Oireachtas committee believes this warrants further investigation by Mr Justice Moran. Members agreed to make a formal request to Minister for Transport Shane Ross to seek a new module from the judge on the arrangements.

The members also agreed to send Mr Justice Moran’s initial report to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement for examination.

The committee has sought guidance from the Department of Foreign Affairs as to whether Mr Hickey can appear before them while a trial is under way. A decision on whether to compel has been postponed until a reply is produced.

Chairman Fergus O’Dowd said committee members wanted to hear from Mr Hickey regardless.

“There is consensus that we need to hear from Mr Hickey. The idea of compelling him is not off the agenda.”