DUBLIN: The Olympic Council of Ireland has is terminating its contract with THG Sports, the British company at the centre of the Rio 2016 ticketing scandal.

The council has said that Mr Justice Finnegan, a retired Supreme Court judge, had overseen mediation to prematurely scrap contracts which ran until the 2026 Olympic Games.

The council said: “Both parties agreed that with THG reducing its business activities in Ireland this would be the most appropriate course of action in the interests of Irish athletes and the wider Irish public.”

THG paid $1.6 million (€1.4 million) to sell Ireland’s tickets for the London, Sochi, Rio and Pyeongchang summer and winter Games.

Details of the contracts became known in August when it emerged that Pat Hickey, who was president of the council, signed contracts last year that tied the OCI to THG Sports for the next four Olympics.

An inquiry by Mr Justice Moran into ticketing at Rio found that Hickey and Marcus Evans, the owner of THG, had a “concealed relationship” and may have worked together to continue their arrangement after THG was rejected as a ticketing agent by the Rio organisers.

Hickey, 72, was arrested during the Rio Games after Brazilian police said he had plotted to transfer tickets illegally from Pro10, the OCI’s ticket reseller, to THG Sports. All of the accused deny the allegations.

Both sides have refused to comment on whether any money had been paid to THG as part of the deal.



Shakespeare sacked by Leicester after just four months Leicester City’s owners claimed last night that a change was necessary after sacking Craig Shakespeare as manager four months … Steve Madeley | 468 words Leicester City’s owners claimed last night that a change was necessary after sacking Craig Shakespeare as manager four months after putting him in permanent charge. He was dismissed eight games into the Premier League season and moments after watching a training- ground game against a Nottingham Forest XI. He is expected to walk away with a severance package worth more than £1 million. Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, the vice-chairman, said: “Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City during his spells as an assistant manager and since taking over as [caretaker] manager in challenging circumstances in February. His dedication to the club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable. However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the club moving forward — consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, board and owners. “Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power Stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the club.” Michael Appleton, who resigned as Oxford United manager in the summer to become Shakespeare’s assistant, will take charge for Saturday’s Premier League game at Swansea City. However, his future and that of Mike Stowell, the first-team coach, is uncertain, with Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the chairman and owner and father of Aiyawatt, believed to favour a more high-profile appointment. That could mean approaches to Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini, both of whom were considered before the appointment of Claudio Ranieri, who led Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016 before being sacked nine months later. Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion left Leicester in the relegation places with six points from eight games. They are without a win in six league fixtures. The decision to sack Shakespeare has taken supporters by surprise, given the club’s first six league matches included games against Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. However, the performances against Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield, Bournemouth and West Brom have been poor, with one victory and four goals. Shakespeare, 53, was made caretaker manager in February when Ranieri was controversially sacked and he was given the job permanently on a three-year contract in the summer after guiding the club away from relegation trouble and taking them to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The club have been beset by recent problems, most notably the failure to complete the registration of Adrien Silva despite agreeing a £25 million deal with Sporting Lisbon. The midfielder faces being unable to play until January. Other summer signings, including Vicente Iborra, Kelechi Iheanacho, Aleksandar Dragovic and Eldin Jakupovic have struggled to make an impact, partly because of injury.

Shakespeare’s short ride at Leicester is over Owners seek big-name manager as Leicester rollercoaster moves on, writes Oliver Kay Oliver Kay, Chief Football Correspondent | 680 words At least Craig Shakespeare was under no illusions about the nature of the challenge at Leicester City. He had helped to save them from relegation, steadying a ship sinking under the weight of spent euphoria, but then came the difficult part. Restoring a sense of normality at the King Power Stadium while satisfying the owner’s spiralling ambitions? That looked like another of football’s impossible jobs. It is a job for someone else now that Shakespeare has become the second managerial sacking of the Premier League season. Dropping into the relegation zone, with one win in their eight league matches, was enough to trigger the panic alarm in the Leicester boardroom once again. Shakespeare acknowledged in an interview with The Times in August that he would have to prove himself all over after earning the job on a permanent contract. What he did not realise, perhaps, was just how little time he would be given to do so. Even when Shakespeare signed a three-year deal in June, it was hard to resist the feeling that this was an appointment Leicester had made because he had given the club’s Thai owner no alternative. There was a parallel with Chelsea’s appointment of Roberto Di Matteo in the summer of 2012 (though the Italian had just won the Champions League and FA Cup, rather than led the defending top-flight champions out of the relegation zone). In both cases, the owners wanted to make a more high-profile, glamorous appointment. In Leicester’s case, all such avenues will now be explored. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Leicester owner, has long had designs on appointing one of European football’s elite coaches. He tried to sound out Carlo Ancelotti in the summer of 2015 when the three-times Champions League winner left Real Madrid. It was this desire for a big name, and the pedigree that comes with it — that eventually led him to appoint Claudio Ranieri, whose reputation at the time appeared to be at an all-time low. Ten months later, incredibly, Leicester were crowned Premier League champions. Ever since that extraordinary, freakish triumph — so at odds with the accepted realities of modern football — Leicester have been trying to capitalise on it. That moment has surely gone. Last season’s struggle, when the spirit that had taken them to the title seemed to evaporate, cost Ranieri his job. Shakespeare restored a sense of purpose and direction, leading them to wins in his first six matches and a 12th-placed finish, but that momentum did not continue into the new season. With one win and six points from their first eight matches, Leicester seemed at risk of another season of struggle. Srivaddhanaprabha was simply not prepared to take it. As Shakespeare noted at the time, Leicester had an unforgiving start to the season — Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool among their first six Premier League opponents. Stoke City have suffered from a similarly difficult set of opening fixtures, yet there is a sense of calm at the bet365 Stadium, where Mark Hughes’s position is not under immediate threat. At Stoke, they appreciate the ebb and flow of a football’s club life. At Leicester, where there has been a rollercoaster existence for the past five years, it is all boom and bust. So who next? Ancelotti is out of work again, sacked by Bayern Munich last month, but he will surely hold out for a more prestigious job, perhaps back in Italy. Roberto Mancini, who had a brief spell with Leicester at the end of his playing career, might be more tempted, but breaking a contract with Zenit St Petersburg would not be easy even if he wanted to. Do not be surprised if Leicester make a play for Thomas Tuchel, who left Borussia Dortmund in May. Less exotic possibilities — Chris Coleman, Sam Allardyce, maybe even a return for Nigel Pearson — were floated by the bookmakers last night, but it seems unlikely that Leicester will go for safe. They want Premier League survival, desperately, but they also want that rollercoaster existence. Shakespeare will reflect that, even after landing the job full-time, he was only really an interim.