Thursday 27 October 2016

Delaney silent on Rio controversy despite request for passport

John Delaney was not in Rio Picture: Damien Eagers
John Delaney was not in Rio Picture: Damien Eagers

FAI chief John Delaney has maintained his silence following a request for the seizure of his passport by Brazilian authorities who are investigating the alleged illegal sale of Olympic tickets.

Mr Delaney, who is the second vice-president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI), was named in a court order signed on Sunday in Rio and ordered to hand his passport over to the authorities there.


He is one of several OCI officials who have been named in various court documents in relation to an ongoing investigation into ticket touts.

However, despite repeated attempts by this newspaper to contact Mr Delaney to discuss the developments in Rio, he has remained uncontactable.

It is understood that he went to work as normal yesterday and chaired a meeting of the FAI executive in Dublin.

Mr Delaney also attended a crisis meeting of the OCI which lasted more than five hours and did not end until the early hours of yesterday morning.

Athlete Sonia O'Sullivan, Sarah Keane, Tommy Murphy and Dermot Sherlock were among those who were at the meeting at the offices of Arthur Cox Solicitors.

Mr Delaney is the only OCI official who has been named in court documents for passport seizures who did not travel to Rio.

He had been expected to join his colleagues at some point during the Games. However, he was at a Dundalk FC game in the Aviva last Wednesday and attended another soccer-related event in Portlaoise on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, acting OCI president William O'Brien, who stepped into the role after the arrest last week of Pat Hickey, has refused to say whether he supports his colleague who remains in jail in Rio.

Mr O'Brien left Brazil before the warrant for his passport was signed.

Speaking for the first time since returning from the Games, Mr O'Brien would not be drawn on the ongoing ticket touting scandal.

He said he had "no comment" to make regarding the issue and directed the Herald instead to a public relations firm.

He did not respond to questions when asked why he believes a Brazilian judge authorised a warrant to seize his passport. The Herald spoke to Mr O'Brien over the phone, but he was not seen at his Dublin home yesterday.

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