Olympic Council of Ireland and THG terminate tickets contracts

Sports body says severing the deal covering the 2018-2016 Olympics was ‘appropriate’

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey who reached the  deal with THG covering the Olympic games between 2018 and 2026. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Former Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey who reached the deal with THG covering the Olympic games between 2018 and 2026. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) and ticketing company THG have announced they have terminated their contracts in relation to the 2018-2026 Olympic Games.

Last month the Government decided not to initiate a new inquiry into the deal tying council to the British ticketing firm for the next nine years.

Minister for Sport Shane Ross had been asked to investigate the agreement between the OCI and THG, which bound the two together in respect of ticket handling for the summer and winter Olympic games in 2018, 2020, 2022, 2024 and 2026.

In a statement on Tuesday, the OCI said it accepted that these contracts were “enforceable as between the parties and that THG fully intended performing its contractual obligations”.

But it added: “Both parties agreed that with THG reducing its business activities in Ireland that this would be the most appropriate course of action in the interests of Irish athletes and the wider Irish public.”

The OCI said THG had been its “most significant commercial partner” since they established their relationship in 2010.

“The OCI wishes to acknowledge THG’s willingness to reach an amicable resolution in this matter,” it added.

The agreement with THG was reached by former OCI president Pat Hickey but was not approved by the organisation’s executive board.

Mr Hickey stepped aside last year after the best part of three decades leading the OCI following his arrest as part of a Brazilian inquiry into the handling of tickets for the Rio Olympics.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

THG was not granted permission to serve as Ireland’s authorised ticket reseller for last year’s Rio games and the organisers of next year’s PyeongChang winter games have also rejected the idea of THG taking the role.

Also last month, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement advised TDs and Senators that the deal may have amounted to deception and breached criminal law.

The ODCE was asked to consider the findings of the inquiry of Mr Justice Carroll Moran into the ticket-touting controversy.

The report found that THG established the firm Pro10 to act as the OCI’ts ticket reseller for the 2016 Olympic games, after THG was rejected.

It also outlines how Mr Hickey and THG owner Marcus Evans focused solely on the mutual financial benefit to the both companies.