Pat Hickey resigns from International Olympic Committee board
In letter to IOC, Hickey reiterated his innocence over alleged ticket touting charges
Last week, a court in Rio de Janeiro set a date in November for the start of Pat Hickey’s trial on the charges related to the Rio Olympic Games. Photograph: Alan Betson
Mr Hickey had temporarily stepped down from all his IOC positions while he faces charges related to alleged ticket touting at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president had been a member of the IOC executive board since 2012 having been elected as a representative of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), where he had also been serving as senior vice-president.
However Mr Hickey, (72), will remain as an ordinary IOC member; he is entitled to stay in that position until age 80. He had also been serving as president of the European Olympic Committee (EOC), which is also set to vote on a replacement later this year.
According to the Olympic news website Insidethegames, Hickey has informed the IOC of his resignation as a member of the IOC executive board “with immediate effect”, ahead of next week’s IOC general session in Lima, Peru.
The executive board, founded in 1921, consists of the IOC president, four vice-presidents and ten other members. All the members of the executive board are elected by the session, by secret ballot, by a majority of votes cast, for a four-year term.
According to the IOC: “Mr Hickey had been elected by the IOC Session with a view to representing the interests of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs). This now vacant post will be filled by election during the forthcoming IOC session in Lima.
“In his resignation letter, Hickey emphasised that he wants to protect the IOC and to ensure that the interests of the NOCs are represented on the executive board.
“He also reiterated his innocence in respect of all charges and confirmed that he hopes to exercise his functions as an IOC member in the future. Mr Hickey’s self-suspension from all other IOC functions, which was confirmed by the IOC executive board in 2016, remains in place. However, the IOC reiterates that the presumption of innocence prevails.”
Three vacant executive board positions will now be up for election in Lima.
Last week, a court in Rio de Janeiro set a date in November for the start of Mr Hickey’s trial on the charges related to the Rio Games. He faces charges of theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association after hundreds of tickets to Olympic events were seized by police.
The trial is due to begin on November 29th, almost a year after Mr Hickey left Brazil.
Mr Hickey, initially been ordered to remain in Brazil upon his release from prison following his arrest during last year’s Olympic Games. He was later given permission to return to Ireland last Christmas, on medical grounds, and on payment of a bail bond of 1.5 million Brazilian real (€400,000).
Prosecutor Marcos Kac said last week that if Mr Hickey did not return to Brazil for his trial, his bond would be retained locally.
In a statement on the Rio de Janeiro courts system website setting the date of the trial, Justice Guilherme Schilling Duarte said only Mr Hickey and ticketing executive Kevin Mallon have so far responded to criminal accusations relating to the ticket touting controversy. Both proclaim their innocence.
It is understood Mr Hickey’s legal team will seek to give evidence via video link from Ireland. The advice given by Arthur Lavigne Associates in Brazil suggests that Mr Hickey could face a maximum 44 years in prison if found guilty of all charges in Brazil.
However Mr Kac last week rejected this assertion.
He also last week said video conferencing is possible during Brazil cases, but that this is not what Mr Hickey had agreed to when he signed his bail agreement that allowed him to go home.