The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) wants to take ticket services in-house for next year’s winter Olympic Games, after it was dragged into a touting investigation at Rio 2016.
The National Olympic Committee’s board said that following the decision by the Pyeongchang organising committee in South Korea to terminate its authorised ticket reseller (ATR) arrangements for the 2018 winter Games in South Korea, it had decided to handle all ticketing arrangements for the Games itself. It said its decision was subject to approval from Pyeongchang 2018 officials.
Former OCI president Pat Hickey, awaiting trial in Brazil over his role in the 2016 touting scandal, last year appointed THG as Ireland’s ATR for the Games until 2026. However, following the Moran Report into the scandal, which concluded that 2016 ATR Pro10 was merely used to disguise the continuing role of THG, the Pyeongchang 2018 organising committee barred the involvement of the Marcus Evans Group-owned operator.
In a statement, the OCI board said: “Following the decision by the Pyeonchang organising committee to terminate the OCI’s ATR arrangements for the 2018 winter Games the board has decided to handle all ticketing arrangements for these Games itself (subject to the approval of the local Pyeonchang organising committee). Ireland is expected to have a small team of between 5-10 athletes competing at the 2018 Winter Games.
“On foot of legal advice the board cannot comment on the decisions it made this evening with regard to ticketing arrangements for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee has yet to make a decision on whether THG will be allowed to sell tickets for those games, however it is believed they will also bar the operator.
Meeting for the first time since the publication of the Moran Report, the OCI board also unanimously agreed not to accept the return of the former president Hickey to its own board.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Hickey will likely give evidence at his upcoming trial in Rio de Janeiro via Skype.
Hickey’s lawyers said he will not need to return to Brazil to face the charges of touting, money laundering and tax evasion as he can use Skype or submit his evidence by way of sworn deposition, subject to approval from the courts in Rio de Janeiro.