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OCI member calls Pat Hickey's arrest in front of TV cameras a "total and absolute disgrace"

The body’s executive committee met last night for the first time since the scandal broke.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Updated at 8.05am

THE FORMER HONORARY general secretary of Ireland’s Olympic Council (OCI) has called the arrest of former president Pat Hickey by Brazilian police in front of television cameras a “total and absolute disgrace” and has said that it would not have happened in Ireland.

Dermot Sherlock was speaking to reporters last night in Dublin on his way into a meeting of the OCI executive committee, its first since the alleged ticket touting scandal broke which has caught up top officials in the organisation.

Pat Hickey has stood down from his position temporarily after being arrested by Rio de Janeiro’s civil police on allegations of ticket touting, establishing a cartel and illicit marketing and is currently being held in Rio’s notorious Bangu prison. He shares a cell with Kevin Mallon, another Irishman caught up in the scandal.

Sherlock (whose comments were carried on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland) said that he wanted to hear all the facts before he came to any decision on what to do.

“If you are not present at something and hear ABC, whatever it is, you then are relying on media in whichever form, friendships this sort of thing,” he said.

You cannot make a proper decision until you find out the facts.

Sherlock said it appeared that some things being said by police “didn’t hold water” and that he would wait to hear more before he would comment properly.

The executive committee had to make a number of decisions last night on how to battle the crisis in the early hours of this morning.

In a subsequent statement, the OCI said its executive members had “discussed recent events in Rio regarding ticketing arrangements at the Games which it takes very seriously”.

download (5) Pat Hickey Source: .Yui Mok

Today, the OCI announced it would appoint an international accountancy firm to conduct an independent review of the ticketing arrangements in Rio.

“The firm will be selected this week and its work will begin immediately and its terms of reference will be published,” the committee said.

The report prepared by the firm will be presented to the judge who will chair the State inquiry into the OCI’s handling of ticketing at the Rio Olympics.

Passports

The OCI has also set up a “three-person crisis management subcommittee” to lead its response to the embarrassing debacle.

This group comprises Sarah Keane (Swim Ireland), Prof Ciaran O’Cathain (Athletics Ireland) and Robert Norwood (Snowsports Association of Ireland).

Yesterday, the FAI’s chief John Delaney became embroiled in the affair. A judge in the city issued a warrant for the seizure of his passport. He, along with five other OCI officials, were named on the magistrate’s order so they would not leave the country at the end of the Games. They want them to assist in their investigation. Delaney, it is understood, was not in Rio when the warrant was issued.

Soccer - International Friendly - Republic of Ireland v England - Aviva Stadium John Delaney Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Agents took the passports of Team Ireland Chef de Mission Kevin Kilty, Dermot Henihen and OCI chief executive Stephen Martin. Police also confiscated phones, laptops and unused Olympic tickets after their search of the OCI’s office.

The other names on the warrant include OCI officials Linda O’Reilly and Willie O’Brien.

According to the warrant, Kilty, Henihen and Martin are prohibited from leaving Brazil and have agreed to attend a police station on Tuesday.

The scandal has been mounting since the arrest on 5 August of Mallon, the Irish head of the THG hospitality company.

Police said they seized hundreds of tickets from Mallon, some of which had the Olympic Council of Ireland name on them.

Tickets, including for the Rio opening ceremony, with a face value of about $1,400 dollars were offered for sale at $8,000.

Hickey denied any involvement with THG before his arrest.

He is expected to appear before a Rio court tomorrow in relation to the case.

With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

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Brazilian judge issues warrant for passport of John Delaney and five other OCI officials

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