Pat Hickey has resigned from his position on the executive board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) amid the continued fallout from his involvement in a ticketing scandal surrounding the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The 72-year-old is set to stand trial from November 29 alongside nine other executives after a Rio court in September 2016 accepted prosecutors’ charges in the case surrounding an alleged illegal ticket ring run during the Brazilian city’s staging of the Games.
Kevin Mallon, a director of international sports hospitality company THG Sports, is also among the defendants, along with Martin Burke, the Olympic Council of Ireland’s (OCI) former sports director, four other THG officials and three from Dublin-based Pro10 Sports Management, Ireland’s official Olympic Games ticket reseller.
Police have claimed Hickey (pictured) conspired with businessmen to transfer Olympic Games tickets illegally from Pro10 to THG Sports, which was a non-authorised vendor and allegedly sold them for very high fees. Police investigators said the scheme was planned to produce $3m (€2.5m).
Hickey, a former European Olympic Committees and OCI president, has denied all wrongdoing.
Authorities are said to have uncovered evidence suggesting the ring was in operation for around eight years and had plans for other Olympic events, included the 2020 summer Games in Tokyo.
Hickey has now taken the decision to resign from his senior IOC post ahead of the executive board’s two-day meeting in Lima, Peru, which begins today (Monday).
“Patrick Hickey has informed the IOC of his resignation as a member of the IOC Executive Board with immediate effect,” an IOC spokesperson told the Reuters news agency.
“In his resignation letter, Mr Hickey emphasised that he wants to protect the IOC and to ensure that the interests of the national Olympic committees are represented on the Executive Board.
“He also reiterated his innocence in respect of all charges and confirmed that he hopes to exercise his functions as an IOC member in the future.”