IOC President Thomas Bach calls for Pat Hickey to be returned to Ireland

Hickey has been in Brazil since July and had his passport confiscated

Thomas Bach, IOC, Pat Hickey,

Image: IOC President Thomas Bach as he speaks during the extraordinary FIFA congress in Zurich, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Michael Probst File)

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has called for Pat Hickey to be released from Brazil on medical grounds. 

Mr. Bach had not commented on the matter before this week since Mr. Hickey's arrest in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic Games this past summer. Mr. Hickey's passport was confiscated in August, but a trial date has not yet been set. 

However, speaking to reporters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Bach stated that Mr. Hickey should be returned home to Ireland on medical grounds, backing up the call made by his legal team last month.

Lawyer Simone Kamenetz stated that the former President of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) "suffers from atrial fibrillation, and the cardiologist who saw him already twice, Dr Claudio Domenico, a well known and reputable physician, established that Mr Hickey's situation is preoccupying."

"Mr Hickey must undergo a delicate heart procedure," Kamenetz added, "and he should be allowed to do it with his doctors that have been following his health conditions already for years, with his family alongside with him."

According to The Irish Times, Bach spoke to reporters on Wednesday about Hickey's ongoing case, stating: "For us it is very clear that the presumption of innocence prevails, and we hope that a good solution will be found to address his difficult health situation. And that hopefully he can have his treatment and surgery in Ireland."

Hickey also stepped down from his role on the IOC executive committee in August after his arrest. He has been living in an apartment in Rio de Janeiro since spending a short spell in Bangu, one of Brazil's most notorious prisons.

An independent report on the ticketing arrangements for the 2016 Olympic Games, which is being carried out by Grant Thornton, was originally due to be completed this month, but the OCI has stated that it will now only be completed following the conclusion of criminal proceedings against Mr. Hickey in Brazil.