Irish Rio ticket reseller provided 'chaotic service'

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Olympics ticketsImage source, PA
Image caption,
Sports minister Shane Ross established the inquiry into the selling and reselling of tickets for the Rio Olympics last August

The company tasked with allocating and reselling Irish Rio Olympics tickets was "unfit for purpose", a report into alleged ticket touting has said.

The Moran Inquiry looked at the circumstances surrounding distribution of tickets for the 2016 games.

The inquiry began last year following the arrest of Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) president Pat Hickey.

The report said the seller appointed by the OCI, Pro 10, was not genuine and provided a "chaotic service".

Led by retired judge Carroll Moran, the report also said the inquiry had been frustrated by a lack of co-operation from key players.

Image source, JACK GUEZ/AFP
Image caption,
Mr Hickey stood down from his role as OCI president following his arrest in Brazil in 2016.

Pro10 was appointed after another reseller, THG, was rejected by the Rio organising committee.

THG was the authorised ticket reseller for the OCI at the Olympic Games at London in 2012 and Sochi in 2014; it was intended by Marcus Evans, who owned THG, and Mr Hickey that it would be the authorised ticket reseller again at Rio 2016.

Marcus Evans is a businessman who, as part of the Marcus Evans Group, owns Ipswich Town Football Club.

However, in May 2015, the Rio Organising Committee for the Olympic Games rejected the application of THG for this position.

The Moran Report stated that Pro10 seemed to be little more than a cover for THG - and that Pro 10 was not fit for purpose.

"It might appear that the appointment of Pro10 was to disguise the continuing involvement of Marcus Evans and THG in the sale of tickets in Ireland for the Rio Olympics," it said.

"The invocation of the "right against self-incrimination" by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), THG, Pro10, and Mr Hickey created a major obstacle."

Image source, RTE
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Police in Rio have issued criminal charges in relation to the case

"Failure by so many principal participants to engage with the inquiry has imposed a major impediment in the preparation of this report."

The inquiry referred to a TV interview with Mr Hickey broadcast by RTÉ on August 11 2016, in which Mr Hickey said the OCI severed links with THG after the Sochi Games in 2014.

Judge Moran said that Mr Hickey's account was "difficult to reconcile" given the volume of e-mails between Mr Evans and Mr Hickey which were seen by the inquiry.

Judge Moran described Mr Hickey's presidency of the OCI as "autocratic"

"His style of leadership was characterised by strong personal control over decision making. He did not seek the engagement of the executive committee in decision making," the judge said.

"He presented the decision as a fait accompli. It was an autocratic style of leadership.

"It allowed for a situation where there was an over dependence on the power of one individual, an unhealthy situation in any organisation."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mr Hickey was detained by Brazilian police earlier this year

Brazilian authorities charged Mr Hickey with facilitating ticket touting, forming a cartel and illicit marketing.

He denies the charges.

A non-statutory inquiry into the issue was established last August, set up by Shane Ross, the Irish minister for transport, tourism and sport.

Last week, Mr Ross said he could not comment on the report ahead of its publication.

"I'd ask everybody to read it and make up their own mind and not depend upon the selective leaks that appeared in the newspapers," he said.

A spokesman for the department said: "In the interests of due process, neither the department nor the ministers will be commenting on the detail of the Moran Inquiry Report, or any matter relating to the inquiry, until after the publication of the report."