PROFILE: Who is Pat Hickey?

OCI president has been arrested in Brazil

Pat Hickey

President of the EOC Pat Hickey in 2015 ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey was arrested in Brazil this morning. Follow the latest updates here.

The 71-year-old has been president of the Olympic Council of Ireland since 1988, also holding other positions internationally.

In 2006, he became president of the Rome-based European Olympic Committees.

Through that, he played a role in the establishment of the European Games, the first of which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan last year.

Due to allegations of repression by the Azerbaijani authorities as reported by The Guardian, the fact that the Games took place there was deemed controversial.

Ahead of those 2015 Games, The Guardian's Owen Gibson told Newstalk regarding the authorities in Azerbaijan that, "Underneath the surface there is real fear of a clampdown that the authorities have made on free speech and any independent journalists, lots of independent blogger, NGOs. These people have been harassed and driven out of existence really, or thrown in prison. That's the flip-side of this drive they've got to put themselves on the map through sport."

Pat Hickey ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The Guardian's Nick Cohen was also highly critical of Hickey regarding the search for a host for those Games.

In 2012, former Brazil footballer and 1994 World Cup winner Romario - currently a federal senator for Rio de Janeiro in his home country - had wanted Hickey to answer questions before congress. 

It regards Romario's claim on his personal blog that the Irishman ensured that, THG Sports, a subsidiary of a firm that - at the time - employed his son Stephen Hickey, would receive the contract for ticket sales in Ireland for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Hickey denied any wrongdoing and dismissed those claims and stated that an authorised ticket reseller had not yet been established at that time.

"I wish to state very clearly that the OCI is not under and has never been under investigation at any level concerning ticketing issues for the London Games," he added.

His son Stephen was a temporary manager at THG Sports during the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

In 2014, the then-chief executive of THG Sports, James Sinton, was arrested in Rio during an investigation into an alleged World Cup tickets scam. He was later freed and left Brazil after paying a fine. 

Before working in sports administration, Hickey had been a black belt judoka, representing Ireland internationally in the sport.

He has also been Honorary Life President of the Irish Judo Association for more than 25 years.