Company owned by Marcus Evans would welcome independent inquiry into Olympics ticketing affair

Marcus Evans at an Ipswich Town match

Marcus Evans at an Ipswich Town match - Credit: Warren Page

A hospitality company which is part of Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans’ business empire says it will welcome an independent inquiry into allegations of illegal ticket sales at the Rio Olympics.

THG Sports director Kevin Mallon has been held by police and warrants issued for the arrest of Mr Evans and three colleagues. Patrick Hickey, head of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) was also arrested at his hotel in Rio de Janeiro. THG Sports says it believes it has “acted lawfully at all times.”

Kevin Mallon was arrested last week after police seized around 1,000 tickets for the Olympics in a hotel.

On Wednesday night, Patrick Hickey was also arrested at his hotel in Rio de Janeiro. He will now face police questioning after being released from hospital, where he was undergoing cardiac tests following chest pains.

A statement released by THG Sports this morning read: “THG notes that, in the interests of the wider Irish public, there have been calls in Ireland for an independent inquiry into the Rio16 Olympic ticketing affair.

“THG wishes to make clear that it would very much welcome such an inquiry and pledges to provide full co-operation in the strong belief that it can demonstrate that the company has acted lawfully at all times.

“While THG respects the Brazilian police process, which clearly is different to that in the UK or Ireland, THG believes that a full and proper judicial assessment cannot be achieved without consideration of, and access to, all the THG compliance documentation which THG has followed in the provision of hospitality packages in Rio.

Most Read

“THG would like to see that an independent inquiry, under the chair of a respected Irish legal figure, be actioned expeditiously.”

The OCI said: “The Olympic Council of Ireland can confirm that Pat Hickey has been discharged from hospital and has been accompanied to a police station to complete a deposition.”

Mr Hickey has been formally accused under Brazilian law of ticket touting, running a cartel and illicit marketing.

After his arrest Mr Hickey, from Dublin, stepped aside from his positions as the International Olympic Committee member in Ireland, president of the European Olympic Committees and vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees.

Marcus Evans owns a business empire valued at £765 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. He bought Ipswich Town Football Club in 2007.

PRO10, the OCI’s authorised ticket reseller for the Olympic games, said: “PRO10 fully supports the call for a judge-led inquiry into the matter of the sale of tickets for the Rio 2016 Olympics. We believe that it should be a full Commission of Investigation under the 2004 Act of that name.

“A Commission of Investigation should be established speedily; investigate all relevant facts and report its conclusions in the shortest possible time. We understand that the terms of any investigation should respect the Brazilian legal process.

“We have nothing to hide and are therefore anxious that the full facts are established and made public as soon as possible so that our good name can be exonerated.

“PRO10 has cooperated fully with any request for information from ROCOG and the IOC and we will comply fully with the proposed Commission of Investigation. We welcome Minister Ross’s efforts to uncover the facts of this matter as soon as possible.”