Olympic Hearing to Reconvene

The question marks that hang over the Olympic Council of Ireland will be revisited in political circles this morning after the Oireachtas Sports Committee questioning of Ministers and Officials in the wake of the Moran Report had to be adjourned yesterday after a member of staff was taken ill.

Minister Shane Ross had made his opening statement outlining his belief that the Report was worthwhile despite the 12 months it had taken rather than a planned twelve weeks and that most of the key organisations involved refused to participate.

In terms of laying out the issues that arose and placing it on the public record he is right. The questioning which will resume this morning had already started to point to how the the mistakes of the past, particularly in relation to governance within the organisation can be avoided in the future, though there are still a lot of issues to be resolved.

Minister Ross said in his statement that the report highlighted the ‘feeble corporate governance in the OCI’and that it ‘should be required reading for anyone with an interest in bad governance, lack of oversight and transparency.’

He also revealed that funding from the state for the OCI would not be reinstated until the outstanding issues relating to contracts for ticket sales through to 2026 have been resolved.

We hope to learn more about those contracts this morning when Sarah Keane, the new president of the OCI comes before the committee.

As we highlighted yesterday, a pre requisite of being an Authorised Ticket reseller with the International Olympic Committee and its local organising committee is to be authorised.

It appears that has been witheld in relation to next February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang but if that process has to win its way through each Games for the next nine years it will put the Olympic Council of Ireland in a very challenging position.

Sponsors, all of whom have now left the OCI post-Rio, will be difficult to attract back unless the clouds of doubt can be swiftly dispersed and that must be the priority, starting again in Committee Room Three at Leinster House this morning.

It is not only the OCI that a longer look will be taken over as well.

Corporate governance or the lack thereof has been highlighted as a major concern. Minister Ross highlighted that progress was being made with eleven bodies fully compliant with the Governance Code for Community and Voluntary Organisations and another 42, including the OCI, on the way towards compliance.

The eleven organisations include National Governing Bodies The Irish Wheelchair Association, Special Olympics Ireland, Swim Ireland, Triathlon Ireland, Fencing Ireland, The Irish Tenpin Bowling Association, the Irish Clay Target Shooting Association and the Baton Twirling Sport Association of Ireland.

Over the next twelve months more are expected to become fully compliant but Ross also warned that ‘if this progress is not maintained, I will implement further measures to get more sports bodies signed up.’

Sport for Business will report back later on what emerges from this morning’s hearings.

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