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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Sam Boal/ Sarah Keane pictured last week.
sarah keane

New OCI president hopes €800,000 spent on Rio ticketing scandal will be "investment"

Sarah Keane was elected as president of the OCI last Thursday.

THE NEW PRESIDENT of the Olympic Council of Ireland said that she hopes the hundreds of thousands of euro spent by the organisation in the wake of the Rio ticketing scandal will be seen as an investment in the future.

Sarah Keane was elected as president of the OCI last Thursday.

The CEO of Swim Ireland for the past 12 years, she won a landslide victory on Thursday with 29 out of 43 votes.

She takes the place of former president Pat Hickey, who stepped down from the role in the wake of the Rio Olympics ticketing scandal last August.

The 71-year-old was due to step down following last year’s Olympic Games, but was arrested in Rio de Janeiro as part of an investigation into the alleged ticketing scam.

Hickey has denied all charges against him.

Speaking this morning to RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Keane fielded questions about the amount of money that has been spent by the OCI since the scandal broke.

It was revealed last week that €800,000 has been spent on various fees and reports in the months since the Rio Olympics.

“It was huge. Financially it was devastating for the Olympic Council, between reports and legal fees,” Keane said.

“There was a lot of people involved.

There was Pat [Hickey] but there were other members of the board as well, there were staff members, there were lawyers in Brazil for all of those individuals as well as the organisation.
There were lawyers in Dublin for almost all of those individuals as well.

Keane said reports had been commissioned by the OCI from Deloitte and Grant Thornton.

“There was a lot of things going on but they had to be addressed and as an organisation we had to deal with that,” she said.

I’d like to think that maybe we will see this at some stage later as an investment in the future of the organisation.

She confirmed that the Grant Thornton report has been postponed pending the outcome of Pat Hickey’s trial in Brazil. This report has so far cost over €200,000


Keane also spoke about her plans for the role and the future of the OCI.

“There’s quite a lot of things to look at,” she said.

We’re having our first board meeting on Friday and I think we’ve to look at some of the fit-for-purpose issues first.

Keane said that the board would be undergoing training so that they understood what they had to do in their roles.

She also said the board would be reviewing all the standing orders of the organisation.

Keane also stated that the ticketing company THG – which was implicated in the ticketing scandal in Rio – is still listed as the authorised ticket reseller for Ireland for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“That is something certainly that the board will have to consider and discuss,” she said.

Keane said that it was her understanding that Pat Hickey would stay on being involved with the Olympics at a European and international level and she didn’t foresee any “problem” with working with him in the future.

She said she was “very shocked” with what had happened with Hickey in Brazil.

On personal level I don’t condone the treatment at all and I’d say it was absolutely dreadful for his family.

Comments have been disabled in this article as a legal case is ongoing

Read: Pat Hickey says it was an ‘honour’ to lead OCI during 28 years as president

Read: OCI presidency candidate claims ‘five or six’ sports federations have colluded ahead of vote