Owner Evans's THG Sports Criticised in Olympics Ticketing Inquiry Report
Monday, 14th Aug 2017 17:24
Town owner Marcus Evans’s THG Sports company has been criticised in an Irish inquiry's report into last summer’s Rio Olympics ticketing controversy led by Judge Carroll Moran, which was published today.
The inquiry was called after Kevin Mallon, who works for sports hospitality company THG, was arrested with a large number of tickets which had been allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) during last August’s games.
THG were not the OCI’s official reseller at the games having been refused permission by the Rio Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (ROCOG) due to accusations of ticket touting at previous Games.
OCI chief Pat Hickey was subsequently also arrested while warrants were reported to be issued for the arrests of Evans and other THG directors, along with those of Pro10, who had subsequently been named the OCI’s authorised ticket reseller at the Games, including Eamonn Collins, a football agent who had represented ex-Blues striker Daryl Murphy among others.
Judge Moran’s 226-page report, which was expected to take 12 weeks but instead stretched to almost a year, found that Pro10 was contracted by the OCI as a means of facilitating THG’s involvement in Rio ticketing despite the ban.
The inquiry found that the two firms paid $1.6 million for the rights to resell the OCI’s tickets and questioned how their investment could be recouped. THG paid $1 million for the rights at the 2012 London Games and at Sochi in 2014, while Pro10 paid $600,000 for Rio.
"If THG was restricted to adding only 20 per cent on each ticket, then in order to recoup the rights fees, it would have had to sell a much greater quantity of tickets than those allocated to the OCI," the report reads.
Judge Moran added that the deals made between the OCI, THG and Pro10, whose Rio operation was criticised for providing “an inadequate service as an authorised ticket reseller to such an extent that it was unfit for its purpose”, were more concerned with their own commercial interests rather than the athletes, their families, friends or fans.
Neither THG nor Pro10 co-operated with the investigation citing to the ongoing legal situation in Brazil.
Both Hickey, who also refused to co-operate with the inquiry as did the International Olympic Committee and ROCOG, and Mallon were granted bail late last year and returned to Ireland.
In a statement THG said: ”THG wishes to reaffirm that it is satisfied that, at all times, it has acted lawfully in connection with the Rio Olympics, or any Olympics, and will make no further comment.”
The lack of co-operation by the various parties was criticised by Irish sports minister Shane Ross.
“It is regrettable that the parties concerned chose not to assist Judge Moran in his inquiries,” Ross said. “I believe that if they had co-operated this report would be more complete.
“I understand that those parties have the right not to incriminate themselves. Judge Moran recognises in his report that this was a legitimate position for them to take.
“I do not believe that it has fundamentally undermined the value and benefit of the insights that we now have as a result of Judge Moran’s careful analysis.”
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