herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Our Rio athletes 'had to use public buses' over accreditation shortage

Judge Carroll Moran led the inquiry into the ticketing chaos
Judge Carroll Moran led the inquiry into the ticketing chaos

Irish athletes competing at the Rio Olympics were forced to use public transport to reach their events because of a lack of accreditation.

The judge-led inquiry into the ticket scandal that marred our participation at the Games has reported problems with how the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) treated athletes, coaches and supporters.

Many families travelled 8,500km to Brazil without any guarantee they would be able to obtain tickets for events.

Judge Carroll Moran concluded that the company responsible for looking after Ireland's ticket allocation, Pro10, "provided an inadequate service as an Authorised Ticket Reseller to such an extent that it was unfit for its purpose".

Complaints

"The ineffective and chaotic service provided by Pro10 resulted in a substantial level of complaints from athletes, their relatives and friends, from members of the Sports Federation and from the public," his report states.

The judge found that Ireland initially sought 2,138 public tickets for the Games - but excluded sports like boxing, golf, rowing and sailing, where we had genuine medal hopes.

Transport Minister Shane Ross is due to publicly release the report today. However, the judge was unable to build up a full picture of what happened to all of the tickets allocated.

Among the report's recommendations is that the OCI should set up a supporters' club so that spectators have a greater input into Olympic activities.

Mr Justice Moran heard from people who complained about a "dearth of information" on how to obtain tickets for the Games.

The judge said that, for many, this inability to acquire tickets in advance was a cause of serious disquiet and "was a fundamental impediment to many persons in deciding to make an important investment in time and money, travelling a significant distance to South America for the occasion".

Allocation

Once they were in Rio, Irish people do not seem to have had any difficulty in acquiring tickets for events.

The father of one athlete described to the inquiry how the allocation of accreditation for the Games was also chaotic.

In some instances, athletes and coaches were sharing accreditation and the inquiry heard that athletes without passes had to travel to their events by public bus.

"The result of the shortage of accreditation is that often athletes would have to share coaches, and often accreditation would not be provided to specialist coaches," it said.

"Some professed that it was a mystery as to how accreditations were allocated, not only in the number of accreditations made available, but also as to the level of accreditation."

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