OCI appoints Grant Thornton to produce report on Rio ticketing

Report will look at Pro10 role as Olympic Council of Ireland’s ticket seller for the Games

The offices of Pro10 in Lucan, Co Dublin. The Grant Thornton report will examine “interactions between Pro10 and THG in relation to OCI’s ticket allocation”.   Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The offices of Pro10 in Lucan, Co Dublin. The Grant Thornton report will examine “interactions between Pro10 and THG in relation to OCI’s ticket allocation”. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has appointed Grant Thornton to produce a report on its ticketing regime for the Rio games.

The report is to be completed by October 10th and will be given to the non-statutory inquiry established by the Government.

The review is to look at the policies, procedures, processes and practices adopted by OCI for the receipt, distribution and sale of tickets allocated to it for the Rio games. The review will look at the awarding of contracts by the OCI and the practices adopted, including the resale of tickets as part of hospitality packages.

In particular, it will look at the appointment of Pro10 as the council’s authorised ticket reseller for the Rio games and “interactions between Pro10 and THG in relation to OCI’s ticket allocation”. It will also look at corporate governance matters relating to the ticket issue. Submissions will be invited from athletes and their families in relation to their experience of ticket availability for the games, the OCI said.

A spokeswoman said the council would have to examine what is in the final report before making a decision on its publication, but that the report in its entirety will be given to the State inquiry.

Pat Hickey, who has stepped aside temporarily as OCI president, and British businessman Marcus Evans communicated about the responses of the two companies caught up in ticketing scandal, emails between the men seen by The Irish Times indicate.

Prior to his arrest Mr Hickey said the council no longer had any association with Mr Evans’s company THG. He made the comment after the revelation that THG’s Dublin finance director, Kevin Mallon, had been arrested in Rio with 823 OCI tickets on August 5th on charges related to ticket touting.

‘Collection point’

The emails also come in a context where the Brazilian police are investigating Mr Mallon’s claim that he was acting as no more than a “collection point” in Rio for customers of the council’s authorised ticket reseller for the Rio Games, Pro10.

Irish business Pro10, which was established last year, was selected for reselling tickets allocated to the council after the THG’s application for a licence to sell tickets was rejected by the Rio organisers. THG had been the council’s official ticket vendor for the London and Sochi games in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

A spokesperson for THG has declined to answer questions on whether the company has any ownership role in or commercial relationship with Pro10, citing the inquiry to be held in Ireland into the council’s ticket regime. He said THG was confident it would be found that it was not linked with any illegality.

Devices

Recovered from Mr Hickey’s electronic devices following his arrest on August 17th, the emails are part of the case file now with Rio de Janeiro’s public prosecution service. Based on the file’s contents, a prosecutor must decide whether to formally charge Mr Hickey before a court. A decision is expected before the middle of next week. In emails dated August 8th and 10th, Mr Hickey and Mr Evans discussed proposed responses to the controversy from Pro10 and THG.

The emails held by the police also suggest that after Mr Mallon’s arrest Mr Hickey and Mr Evans were in phone contact. On August 7th, Mr Hickey emailed Mr Evans his Brazilian mobile number with no other message. Mr Hickey, THG and Pro10 have all denied any wrongdoing. Under Brazilian law, selling of tickets by an unauthorised vendor is a civil offence. But price gouging, the charge made by the Rio police, is a criminal offence as are the conspiracy charges those involved also face.