Tuesday 2 October, Brasilia: Legendary footballer Romario, now a Socialist Deputy, called today for IOC officials Patrick Hickey and Carlos Nuzman to be invited to Brasilia for questioning by a Congressional committee about ticket deals for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Congressman Romario also wants to ask Mr Hickey about allegations that bribes have been paid by cities bidding to host the Olympics. This statement, posted on Romario’s website, begins with questioning the re-election of Carlos Nuzman to preside over Brazil’s National Olympic Committee.
In the next few days, Mr. Nuzman is likely to be reappointed as President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, a position he has held for no less than seventeen years. He has a great chance of reigning for another four years. After all, he is the only candidate!
Administering Olympic sport in Brazil is a task of great responsibility, especially on the eve of the first edition of the Games in our country. It is necessary to pay attention to whether the President of the COB is really committed to putting the interests of Brazil first, before those of the International Olympic Committee.
One of Mr Nuzman’s friends at the IOC is Mr Patrick Hickey from Ireland, a member of the IOC’s Executive Board and of the Coordination Committee overseeing the organization of the Games in Rio de Janeiro.
I wonder – maybe Mr. Nuzman can clarify to Congress and to Brazilian society – if Mr. Hickey visits Rio to contribute to the preparations for the Games, or looking for business opportunities for his family.
After all, I know for a fact that his son works for a subsidiary of the company that was awarded the right to sell tickets for the 2012 and 2014 Olympics by Mr. Hickey.
Everyone knows of my concern to ensure that all our citizens can afford tickets for the World Cup and the Olympics. So I am concerned to read reports that Mr. Hickey granted Ireland’s allocation of tickets for the Olympic Games in London to a private company that packaged them with hotel rooms and then sold to wealthy clients.
This company was the Marcus Evans Group which has a long history of selling Olympic tickets. Investigations by the London Sunday Times this year led to the discovery that Marcus Evans was reselling tickets that had been earmarked initially for the Olympic committees of Greece, Malta – and Ireland.
The Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee has opened its own investigation into Marcus Evans’s dealings in Olympic tickets. We wait to see if Mr Hickey is named in the IOC investigation.
My biggest concern is what will happen with the tickets for the Olympics in Rio in 2016. Will Mr Hickey be selling more Olympic tickets to the highest bidder?
If Mr. Nuzman continues his reign at the head of the Brazilian Olympic sports, will he allow traders to take control of the sale of tickets for our Games?
Will tickets for Brazil’s Games be only for those who can afford luxuries while the middle class and the poor, can only watch on TV?
These things leave me with a flea in my ear! I am also bothered that Stephen Hickey, son of Patrick Hickey, works for a Marcus Evans company called The Hospitality Group. Is this a mere coincidence?
Through this company, the Marcus Evans Group set up a venture in London during the Games, called the “Irish Olympic House.” It charged an expensive entrance fee and served drinks until late.
Mr Patrick Hickey granted them the right to use the Five Rings, the official symbol of the games, a privilege that global brands like McDonald’s, Samsung and Coca-Cola only achieved after costly negotiations. The Irish House closed its doors after the Olympics and did not reopen for the Paralympics.
There are other instances in Mr Patrick Hickey’s Olympic career that concern me. I’d like to hear him explain what he knows about corruption in Olympic bidding, including the candidacy of Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics, which became the biggest bribery scandal in Olympic history.
I have obtained a copy of a letter that Mr. Hickey wrote in 1991 to the leaders of the Salt Lake City bid for those games.
In that letter marked “Strictly private and confidential” Patrick Hickey revealed some shocking information to his American friends about Olympic corruption. Mr Hickey wrote, “Certain IOC members have entered in to a contract with Nagano to vote for them for a fee of $100,000.”
Mr Hickey said he had been goven this information by Italy’s Mario Pescante who later survived a doping cover-up scandal in Italian football to become Berlusconi’s sports minister and also an IOC member.
Mr Hickey kept that information about Olympic corruption secret. It is my duty as a Congressman to make it public.
I think it is important that Mr. Hickey should come and be heard by the Commission of Tourism and Sports of the House, of which I am a member. This would be an opportunity to clarify how he intends to conduct the sale of tickets for the Games Rio 2016.
We need to know if there will be some kind of favouritism shown to any specific business group. Maybe he can tell us, too, if there was any racketeering in the selection of Rio to host the Olympics.
Mr. Nuzman, the President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, should also come before us at the Congress to help clarify, with maximum transparency, how they will be distributing tickets for the Olympics in Rio, and guarantee that the poorest in our population will have the chance to be part of this big party.
Finally, I put on record my outrage at the shameful facts reported by the press about thefts of sensitive data relating to the London Games by Brazilian officials.
There is still much to be clarified, and I will ask the Commission for Tourism and Sport to invite the dismissed employees of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games in Rio, such as Mrs. Renata Santiago, to present their justifications and help clarify this bizarre episode theft of data.
There are indications that this was not the first such theft. We need clarification on the episode, in 2007, that culminated in the resignation of Rodrigo Hermida of the Organizing Committee of the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, as reported by the Juca Kfoury.
Rodrigo Hermida , who now works in the organization of the 2014 World Cup, was punished at that time for unauthorized copying of data from multinational EKS. Does Nuzman not remember anything about that?
It is important that Rodrigo Hermida is also invited to bring clarification to our Committee.
In the coming days, I will send a Request for Information to the Sports Minister Mr Aldo Rebelor. Moreover, we must make progress on a Proposed Regulation and Control Commission for Tourism and Sport, with assistance from the Court of Audit. Among the tasks are:
- Overseeing Rio-2016, regarding the sale of tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games;
- Auditing the origin and application of public funds for COB;
- Auditing the accounts of the COB.
More than ever, we need President Dilma and Minister Rebelo to stand firm and not retreat from the decision to only transfer resources to public entities that modernise their statutes limiting the mandates of their leaders.
This is a global trend. The International Olympic Committee has amended its statute, which now limits re-election. And the Brazilian Paralympic Committee adopted this democratic reform spontaneously.
Do not retreat Madame President! You have my support and the support of all those who love the sport and want it to be always led by serious, competent people, who have respect for public property and that do not act in the shadows.
See the original at Congressman Romario’s blog.