Rio 2016 tickets row: A Q&A that’s a bit top-heavy with Qs

Colm Keena lists questions over the Olympic tickets saga that a lot of folk want answers to

Rio 2016 Olympics tickets: Liam Treacy, whose daughter Sarah ran in the 3,000m steeplechase final, wasn’t able to get tickets for that event when he tried to buy them from the Irish system earlier this year, but was later able to buy them from a Brazialian website, in a very straightforward manner. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rio 2016 Olympics tickets: Liam Treacy, whose daughter Sarah ran in the 3,000m steeplechase final, wasn’t able to get tickets for that event when he tried to buy them from the Irish system earlier this year, but was later able to buy them from a Brazialian website, in a very straightforward manner. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

How come the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) appears to have had a surplus of tickets when the parents of Irish athletes have said they couldn’t get any?

According to the Brazilian police, email correspondence between Pat Hickey of the OCI, and Marcus Evans, owner of the THG ticketing group, dealt with tickets for the Rio games, and the opening and closing ceremonies, which were available for sale apparently because they were surplus to OCI’s requirements.

Reports from Rio also say the police had seized tickets that were intended for the families of Irish athletes.

Yet according to a number of athletes’ families, they found it difficult to source tickets from the system put in place in Ireland by the OCI.

Liam Treacy, whose daughter Sarah ran in the 3,000m steeplechase final, wasn’t able to get tickets for that event when he tried to buy them from the Irish system earlier this year, but was later able to buy them from a Brazialian website, in a very straightforward manner. “It turned out they were widely available.”

OCI appointed Irish business Pro10 Sports Management as its official agent for the sale of OCI-allocated tickets, after THG was refused a licence to sell them for the Rio games.

What was Pro10 up to? How come some people found them hard to contact, and hard to get tickets from?

The OCI says that the handling of ticketing at the Rio games is now a matter for the Government inquiry, and it cannot comment. Pro10 did not return calls yesterday. Nor have we heard from Mr Hickey. The Brazilian police are investigating suspected ticket touting. Whether that forms part of the explanation, is something that has yet to be proven.

Why was Pat Hickey in contact with Marcus Evans if THG didn’t have the ticket contract?

There is nothing as yet available from Mr Hickey or Mr Evans in relation to this. The question is further complicated by the fact that the Brazilian police arrested Kevin Mallon, the Irish commercial director of THG, who was in possession of tickets that formed part of the allocation to the OCI.

THG says Mallon was acting as a “collection point” for people who bought tickets from Pro10. But why that would be the case is not clear. There is no known commercial relationship between THG and Pro10.

Why hasn’t John Delaney said anything?

Mr Delaney, the chief executive of the Irish Football Assocation, is vice-president of the OCI. Brazilian detective Aloysio Falcão has said investigators will be asking the Irish Government to look into any involvement of Mr Delaney in the ticketing affair.

The FAI has negotiated corporate ticket arrangements in the Aviva Stadium with THG, but it is not known if he had any role in the OCI ticketing policies or arrangements. A spokesman said he would not be commenting. Mr Delaney didn’t travel to Rio.

How was the ticketing contract given to Pro10 and what were the terms?

We don’t know and the OCI is not saying.

Did Mr Hickey have more than one hotel room in Rio?

When the police first came looking for Mr Hickey, his wife answered the door to their hotel room and said he wasn’t there. However, the police subsequently found him in another room. According to the OCI, Mr Hickey was in Rio in his capacity as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board, and that body took care of his hotel arrangements.

The OCI also said the cost of the couple’s flights to and from Rio were to be met by the International Olympic Committee, though they were being paid in the first instance by the OCI, which is to be reimbursed. It would not say how much the tickets cost.

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