Bach faces scrutiny on Ireland's Rio tickets

LONDON • Thomas Bach, the most powerful man in world sport, is facing fresh questions over his role in the Rio 2016 ticket scandal after documents revealed that organisers provided an additional 844 tickets to Ireland, two weeks after a direct approach was made to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president.

Pat Hickey, the former head of the Olympic Committee of Ireland (OCI) and a senior IOC member who has been charged with ticket touting and conspiracy, sent a "wish list" to Bach in a text message in July 2015 asking for 980 more tickets for high-demand events at the Rio Olympics.

Documents obtained by ZDF, the German broadcaster, and seen by The Times reveal that, two weeks after the text was sent, Rio organisers provided 844 extra tickets to the Irish at the request of the IOC, taking their total allocation to 2,366.

They included tickets for football and beach volleyball - even though Ireland did not enter those events - as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

Hickey, 71, was arrested in his hotel during the Rio Games and Brazilian police say that he plotted with businessmen to transfer tickets illegally to hospitality provider THG Sports, which allegedly sold them for very high fees.

Hickey has been released from prison on bail and has returned to Ireland, vowing to clear his name.

He has stepped aside as an IOC member and president of the OCI.

The IOC stated: "The IOC was ready to co-operate fully to clarify this matter from the very first day. The IOC has proactively contacted the Brazilian authorities in September 2016 via a Brazilian lawyer. Following the contact, the IOC received questions which were fully answered. The IOC has always acted following the rules and procedures accordingly."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 05, 2017, with the headline 'Bach faces scrutiny on Ireland's Rio tickets'. Print Edition | Subscribe