August 17th 2016, and the Irish Olympic scandal relating to ticket touting, will be remembered as one of the most extraordinary days in the history of Irish sport, following the arrest of OCI president Pat Hickey. Here is how the entire story unfolded, beginning back in 2012:
Former footballer and political representative Romario alleged via a personal blog post that Pat Hickey, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland and member of the Executive Board of the IOC, had engaged in touting tickets for London 2012 through a close relationship with a company called THG, a subsidiary owned by Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans.
Hickey rejected the claims.
Friday, August 5th
Irishman Kevin Mallon detained in Rio de Janerio in connection with alleged ticket touting. He is a director of The Hospitality Group (THG) a subsidiary of the Marcus Evans Group. THG were the authorised ticket reseller for Ireland at London 2012 and the 2014 Winter Olympics. They are not the official ticket reseller for Ireland at Rio 2016.
Mallon was detained along with a translator, with police claiming he was in possession of 813 tickets for high-profile sporting events at the Games. as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Some of these tickets were part of the Olympic Council of Ireland's allocation for the games.
Monday, August 8th
The OCI confirm the have no knowledge of the two individuals arrested, and say they will launch an internal inquiry.
Pat Hickey states that " the OCI don't handle (the tickets) whatsoever. The tickets are issued to Pro10 (the OCI's ticket agent for the Games) not by us but by Rio 2016...we never handle tickets whatsoever".
Wednesday, August 11th
Minister for Sport Shane Ross expresses concern over the independence of the OCI's inquiry. Speaking on Morning Ireland, Ross refuses to state he has confidence in Pat Hickey. He confirms plans to fly to Rio to meet with Hickey.
Monday, August 15th
Shane Ross expresses his shock and disappointment with the result of his meeting with Pat Hickey in Rio, releasing the following statement:
The Minister emphasised the necessity of independence and rigour in such investigations, in terms of establishing their credibility.
The OCI refused the Minister’s request, citing legal advice.
The OCI also stated that it would not provide any information to any third party, including any independent inquiry the Minister might establish, until such time as the case concludes.
While the Minister accepts that due process and natural justice must take its course, he does not accept that there is any legal basis for refusing to accept independent members on the OCI’s inquiry.
Speaking once again on Morning Ireland, Ross says that the meeting was "tense", saying he was "absolutely stunned" with the response, claiming he was met with a "brick wall".
Also, Brazilian police issue arrest warrants for Marcus Evans and three others in relation to the ticket touting scandal.
Wednesday, August 17th
OCI president Pat Hickey is arrested by Brazilian police under suspicion of touting.
Hickey is arrested in hotel, and brought to hospital as a precaution, owing to a long-standing heart problem.
Hickey is charged with facilitating ticket touting,the formation of a cartel and ambush or illicit marketing. Police say that they have evidence from Hickey's phone that he had direct correspondence with Marcus Evans of the THG group, for whom they have issued an arrest warrant.
A letter between Hickey and his lawyer ahead of the former's meeting with minister Ross is leaked, confirming a willingness on Hickey's behalf to put the minister "back in his box".
Here is email from Ire Olympic legal counsel to Hickey outlining plan to put sports min Shane Ross 'back in his box' pic.twitter.com/dWYhMGLNZN
— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) August 17, 2016
Hickey confirms via a statement on the OCI website that he has temporarily stood down as president of the OCI until the matter is resolved.