Pat Hickey’s OCI successor to be appointed in February

OCI confirm elections for all executive committee positions will take place in February

Vice-President of the Irish Olympic Council, Willie O’Brien and Dr. David Feegan outside the Hospital Samaritano in Rio after Pat Hickey’s arrest at the Olympics. O’Brien is understood to be putting forward his name for re-election. Photo: Inpho

Vice-President of the Irish Olympic Council, Willie O’Brien and Dr. David Feegan outside the Hospital Samaritano in Rio after Pat Hickey’s arrest at the Olympics. O’Brien is understood to be putting forward his name for re-election. Photo: Inpho

 

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) have confirmed that elections for all executive committee positions – including the role of president – will take place at an EGM called for Thursday, February 9th, in Dublin.

It follows the fall-out of former OCI president Pat Hickey’s arrest during the Rio Olympics on charges of ticket touting, and subsequent resignation of existing executive committee members, including second vice president John Delaney, along with Ciarán ó Catháin and Kevin Kilty.

All 36 national governing bodies of sport affiliated to the OCI have now been requested to submit candidates for the 13-member executive committee, including those who will act as president, vice-president, and honorary treasurer.

Nominations for the positions will close on Wednesday, January 11th.

Acting OCI president Willie O’Brien, who took over the role following Hickey’s decision to step aside pending the outcome of the ticket-touting charges, is understood to be putting forward his name for re-election.

Hickey, meanwhile, is expected back in Ireland within the next 24 hours after a judge in Rio ruled his passport be returned, as the bail bond of €410,000 has been paid: Hickey is now in possession of his passport but is still awaiting final clearance to leave Rio.

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 .

In contrast to national Olympic bodies examined elsewhere, the OCI had “limited or no information” on “managing conflicts of interest, behaviours and ethics and roles and responsibilities”.

The report also recommended that no member of the executive committee, on which Hickey has sat for the last 28 years as president, should serve more than two four-year terms. It says there is “strong evidence” that limiting terms “prevents the dominance of one viewpoint or mode of thought”.

The majority, 96 per cent, of OCI stakeholders, the individual sporting federations that constitute the council, supported the idea of limiting terms of office.

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. The letter, signed by OCI General Secretary Dermot Henihan, lists a range of the employed agencies including Grant Thornton, Deloitte, Espion, Blacknight, Communications Clinic, Wilson Hartnell and Arthur Cox.

Sarah Keane and Robert Norwood, the two remaining members of the crisis committee following the resignation of ó Catháin on, responded to the contents of the letter, stressing that agreement to employ such agencies was made by the executive committee members of the OCI present on the night.

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

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