It would not be a true Olympics without a scandal or three. In the wake of controversy surrounding the fabricated account of the ‘armed robbery’ at gunpoint of US swimmers, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee was literally caught with his pants down in an arrest made by Brazilian authorities Wednesday that could have international repercussions in the sporting world.
The Irish national was allegedly involved with a major ticket scalping operation at the Rio games with potential profits (before taxes) at $3.1 million. In contrast, gold medal winners from the US receive $25 thousand from the US Olympic committee and are subject to taxes. According to police, European Olympic Committee President Patrick Hickey was arrested in his son’s hotel room, donning only a robe. Hickey’s arrest stems from a suspected connection with an earlier incident on the opening day of the games, where fellow Irishman Kevin Mallon was taken into custody along with 700 tickets marked for sale. Mallon is the director of THG Sports, a firm officially authorized in ticket resales for the Rio games. Ironically, THG also (over)sold tickets at the Sochi and Athens games.
While the convoluted situation is certainly the tip of the iceberg of SOP for an organization always suspected of treading into the decrepit waters of corruption, the fact that one of the most powerful and influential governing figures in global sports is sitting in a Brazilian jail, should substantiate a wholescale and thorough criminal investigation of the IOC. As the IOC is a self-policing bureaucracy, Hickey’s apparent criminal involvement in a spurious scheme is an opportunity for the introduction of accountability and justice.
Read the full article from the BBC here.