Pro10 complains to Rio 2016 organisers over ticket controversy
Irish Olympics ticket reseller seeks damages over ‘illegal capture’ of its merchandise
An Irish ticket for Rio 2016 seized from one of the directors of THG Sports is displayed during a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photograph: Tasso Marcelo/AFP/Getty Images
Pro10 Sports Management, the Olympic Council of Ireland’s (OCI) authorised ticket reseller (ATR) for Rio 2016, has complained to the Games’s organising committee about what it alleges is the “illegal capture” of its tickets.
In email correspondence sent on Wednesday and seen by The Irish Times, Pro10 said it will seek damages from the Games’s organising committee, after some its tickets were seized by Brazilian police investigating alleged illegal touting.
Kevin Mallon, the Dublin finance director of another sports hospitality company, THG, was arrested at a hotel last Friday in Rio de Janeiro with several hundred tickets designated for the OCI.
He was charged with being involved in the illegal resale of tickets for more than their face value.
In response to an emailed demand from the Rio organising committee for an explanation on Wednesday, Pro10 replied that THG had “introduced” it to individuals who were seeking tickets.
It also said it had supplied THG with tickets to be collected in Rio by people who had bought them directly from Pro10.
“At no time did we authorise Mr Mallon to sell any tickets on our behalf nor to the best of our knowledge did he sell any tickets.
“He merely acted as a collection point for individuals transacting directly with ourselves,” Pro10 said.
Pro10 told the Rio organisers that “Ireland is a small business community” and its executives knew Mr Mallon through THG’s previous work for the Football Association of Ireland.
“We knew he was going to Rio to look after the THG companies’ clients. We approached [him] to take our unsold inventory to Rio and to have it available for collection for clients buying through our website or from our office in Ireland.”
Pro10, which is based in Lucan in west Dublin, complained to the organising committee of an “‘[arrest] and a build facts later’ approach by the Brazilian authorities”.
It also criticised the committee for taking five days to contact it.
The company told The Irish Times it may take legal action in relation to the seizure of its tickets in Brazil.
“These [tickets] had been made available for sale through the authorised ATR process and were sold to legitimate customers of Pro10 at face value, plus the allowed ATR reseller fee,” Pro10 said.
“It is normal practice for ATRs to have available many tickets in Rio for collection and sale through the authorised processes at Games time.
“Many ATRs would have several thousand, rather than hundreds, of tickets at their possession at an ATR house.”
Pro 10 Sports Management is co-owned by football agents Michael Glynn and Eamonn Collins, as well as financial adviser Ken Murray.
The trio established a company, Kmepro, in April 2015, which now trades as Pro 10.
The firm’s clients appear to include Irish soccer internationals Conor Sammon, who recently joined Hearts in Scotland, and Daryl Murphy, the Ipswich striker.
It has also organised pre-season tours in Ireland for Scottish soccer clubs, including Falkirk and Hearts.
Mr Glynn previously ran another agency, Pro Soccer, which ceased operations in 2012.
Mr Collins is a former professional soccer player who had a career in the lower leagues of England in the 1980s and 1990s.
He later managed in the League of Ireland before registering as a soccerl agent.
Last April, he registered a new company, Cluainweir, which appears to be a 50/50 joint venture with Unique Sports Management, the agent of Premier League players Harry Kane and Wilfried Zaha.
Mr Murray is a former commercial manager of St Patrick’s Athletic who now runs Financial Solutions, a mortgage and pensions adviser based in Dublin.
The OCI, meanwhile, did not comment when asked about the circumstances of the appointment of Pro 10 as ticketing agent, including whether a tendering process was held.
It is understood that Pro 10 did not face any competition for the Irish ATR contract.
THG previously held the contract for the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.