Dublin TD says Olympic Council of Ireland should appear before PAC over tickets scandal

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock, has called on the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer questions regarding the ongoing Olympic ticket scandal in Rio.

Deputy Rock is a member of the committee and believes the public have a right to know the full details.

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“This ongoing ticket scandal is an embarrassment, not just for the OCI but for the country in general,” he said. ”

“While we should be enjoying and talking about the events taking place on the track, in the pool, etc. we are discussing off the field antics and an Irishman arrested for selling OCI allocated tickets on the black market.”

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) say their investigation into an alleged ticket touting ring is progressing after requesting all the evidence related to the case.

Kevin Mallon was detained by the Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro along with another employee of THG Sports firm, amid investigations into what they believe could be a major international touting ring.

Police confiscated more than 1,000 high-value Olympic tickets in the operation, while the Olympic Council of Ireland has denied any knowledge of “how these individuals were allegedly in possession of OCI allocated tickets.”

In a statement released on Thursday, the OCI said that their own investigation into the matter was underway, and they have requested the “Rio 2016 Organising Committee to pass on immediately all evidence and relevant information from the investigating Brazilian authorities to enable the OCI to advance our inquiries as quickly as possible.”

As well as seeing the OCI appear before the PAC Deputy Rock is also calling for more transparency from the organisation.

He said:

“I would also like to see the breakdown of monies received from the OCI from its authorised ticket reseller and determine how much of this money was received by the various national federations and athletes from across the country. It is important that the OCI is fully transparent in its dealings with its commercial partners and I hope PAC will be given the chance to investigate this fully, as obviously any shortcoming in expected income will ultimately have to be stumped up by the taxpayer: therefore it is certainly in our interest.”

Last week OCI President Pat Hickey labelled FAI chief John Delaney the ‘favourite’ to follow in his footsteps and take the role from 2020.

Hickey is resigning from the post he has held since 1988 and will be replaced by vice-president Willie O’Brien after the Olympic Games.

In an interview with RTE Hickey said that, if elected, O’Brien will not serve beyond the 2020 Olympic Games and, at that point, the much maligned head of the FAI is likely to take over.

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“Our understanding of it is that Willie will do a stint up until Tokyo and then the favourite at the moment to take over from him is John Delaney from the FAI…John is very popular”.

Delaney, and the FAI, have their own history of ticketing problems as his father Joe Delaney was forced to resign as treasurer of the FAI in 1996 when it emerged he had paid £110,000 out of his own pocket to a ticket tout known as George The Greek. He had made the payment to wipe out a shortfall in the FAI’s World Cup ticket allocation for USA 94.

 

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