Pat Hickey confirms he will not contest OCI presidential election

Hickey held position largely unchallenged since 1989 until arrest in Rio de Janeiro

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) has confirmed details of February’s Extraordinary General Meeting which will feature elections for all executive committee positions, including the role of president.

That EGM – set for Dublin on February 9th – will formally bring to an end Pat Hickey’s reign as OCI president, a position he has held largely unchallenged since 1989, winning a record seventh four-year term in 2014. Hickey stepped aside in August pending the outcome of the ticket-touting charges during the Rio Games, and confirmed in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that he has “repeatedly advised in the past year prior to the Rio Games 2016 that he would be finishing his term of office after the Games” and that “he will not be a candidate for president at the forthcoming elections”.

Hickey was granted the return of his passport on Monday and his lawyer said today that he may already be on a flight back to Ireland.

In the meantime acting OCI president Willie O’Brien, who Hickey had already identified as his successor, has confirmed he will be putting his name forward for the position on a permanent basis, which would see him in the role through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.


According to a letter written to the 36 National Governing Bodies of sport affiliated to the OCI, the EGM is to “receive and consider the reports of the Deputy Chef de Mission, Honorary General Secretary and Honorary Treasurer for the Rio Olympic Games”; and also to “Elect Officers and an Executive Committee for the next (2020) Olympic Games”.

In accordance with OCI Article 15.5, “nominations for Officers and Members of the Executive Committee must be submitted in writing to the Honorary General Secretary at least 28 days before the meeting referred to above (that closing date being January 11th).

“Nominations can be made only by a National Federation whose sport is on the programme of the Olympic Games and which is affiliated to the Council.

“No person shall be eligible for nomination for election to the Executive Committee who is not a) at the date of nomination, a delegate of a National Federation whose sport is on the programme of the Olympic Games, which is affiliated to the Council; b) an outgoing Officer of the Council; or c) an outgoing member of the Executive Committee.

“The OCI positions up for election are President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Honorary General Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and seven further members of the Executive Committee. All existing executive committee members must resign their position prior to the EGM.”

It’s unclear at this stage the extent to which the OCI will be accepting the recommendations of the independent report carried out by consultants Deloitte, in October, who were asked to examine the organisation’s governance and management in light of Hickey’s arrest.

According to Deloitte, the OCI has inadequate audit functions, is not transparent and pays little or no attention to ethical functions; it also suggested the OCI has no strategic plan for what it is supposed to achieve .

The report also recommended that no member of the executive committee should serve more than two four-year terms.

Last month, spiralling legal and expenditure costs related to the Rio ticketing scandal – now expected to exceed €1 million – caused further rifts within the OCI, a letter seen by The Irish Times clearly attributing the brunt of that responsibility to the three-person crisis management committee. These claims were then strongly contested by the crisis management committee, set up in the immediate aftermath of Hickey’s arrest.

It remains to be seen then how many of the existing committee members go back for re-election, or if the total clear-out anticipated by some comes to light.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics