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Pat Hickey says it was an 'honour' to lead OCI during 28 years as president

The 71-year-old formally left his role today.

Pat Hickey.
Pat Hickey.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

PAT HICKEY FORMALLY left as president of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) today in a long statement reflecting on 28 years in the role — but failed to acknowledge a ticketing scandal.

The 71-year-old was due to step down following last year’s Olympic Games, but was arrested in Rio de Janeiro as part of an investigation into an alleged ticketing scam.

He was allowed to return to Ireland in December after being detained by the Brazilian authorities in August and has vowed to clear his name, saying he is “totally innocent”.

“Since 1989 it has been my great honour and privilege to lead this great Irish sporting institution as president,” Hickey said in a statement.

“As you will remember, at the beginning of 2016 I announced that Rio would be my last Games as president and that I would stand down immediately after the Games.

“Accordingly, the time has now come to pass the Irish Olympic torch to a new generation and I wish nothing but the best of luck and success to the new president, officers and executive committee of the OCI.”

Hickey did not mention the alleged ticketing scam but he thanked his wife Sylviane for supporting him “through thick and thin”.

The OCI will elect a new president on Thursday, but Hickey said he would not be able to attend the extraordinary general meeting on health grounds.

There are three nominees for the role of president; acting president Willie O’Brien, Swim Ireland CEO Sarah Keane and Basketball Ireland chief executive Bernard O’Byrne.

Hickey is recovering from a recent medical procedure on his heart.

© AFP 2017

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