Olympics

Former FAI Chief Executive Issues Warning To Those Having A Go At Pat Hickey

Former FAI Chief Executive Issues Warning To Those Having A Go At Pat Hickey

Bernard O'Byrne would not count Pat Hickey as a friend, though he says the exchanges between the two are generally cordial.

The former FAI chief executive, now CEO of Basketball Ireland, was speaking with Pat Kenny on Newstalk.

O'Byrne can understand why people are not standing up to defend Hickey regarding the OCI ticket touting scandal. He's not a man who treads carefully when it comes to how he treats others. As an example, in yesterday's Sunday Times, Eamonn Coghlan told an incredible story regarding how Hickey once spoke to him.

O'Byrne says Hickey is not a 'warm or liked' individual.

There's a lot of people over the last 25 or 30 years have suffered the verbal or metaphorical swords that Pat Hickey wielded from time to time. It doesn't surprise me that there is not a queue forming.

He's a dogmatic, arrogant man. At the same time, he's a doer. He gets things done. He has taken himself - as Eamonn [Coghlan] said - from a second rate judo athlete right up to the top of, not only the Irish Olympic movement but the European Olympic movement. His rise has been very substantial, and probably one of the most successful Irish sports administrators ever. That doesn't make him a warm person or a liked person.

After his interview with Pat Kenny ended, O'Byrne went on Twitter to issue a warning to those who have had negative words to say about Hickey.

That does make Hickey sound like a Steven Segal character set on revenge.

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Even though Hickey said pre-Olympics that he would be stepping down as President of the OCI after 27 years - he already anointed John Delaney as his successor - it would not surprise O'Byrne if the 71-year-old - if cleared of charges - continued in a role with the OCI.

I wouldn't put it past Pat Hickey to come back into his positions and say 'I was seriously wronged here. I'm a victim in all of this'. In a case where he is completely vindicated and found innocent, I could see Pat Hickey coming back.

I wouldn't say it's in his demeanour to just walk off into the sunset, if he's found innocent.

O'Byrne believes that damage has been done to Ireland's reputation but, if wrongdoing is found to have taken place, he believes a clean slate could amend our standing.

If it turns out that wrongdoing has happened, I think people are intelligent enough to realise that what actually happened was that one or more individuals went rogue. It wasn't that the Olympic Council of Ireland sat down one night and decided to get involved in ticket touting. It was individuals, if this is proven. I think people will be able to make the distinction between individuals going rogue and organisations actually being corrupt.

If this does go down and people are found guilty and there is some kind of clearout, that can be good for our reputation because people will be seen to have acted. Every now and again, both in society and in politics and in sport there is one of these clearouts. Often it's for the best.

Read: Eamonn Coghlan Tells Incredible Pat Hickey Story In Today's Sunday Times

Picture credit: Sportsfile

PJ Browne
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