Ireland’s bid for Olympic gold has been derailed, before it has even started, by claims of a betting scandal involving a member of Team Ireland.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Pat Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, confirmed that he received an allegation concerning one of the competitors due to compete at the London Games, which opened last night in spectacular circumstances.
Hickey revealed that he is currently seeking legal advice on the matter and that the alleged competitor was also been informed of the investigation.
The Olympic Council of Ireland subsequently received a detailed letter from the competitor’s solicitor on Thursday and a full investigation is now under way with the competitor believed to have made two bets backing an opponent to win an event in which they themselves were directly competing.
This practice is prohibited by The International Olympic Committee and earlier this month IOC chief Jacques Rogge confirmed the IOC’s stance saying “the fight against doping and illegal gambling remain the absolute priority of the IOC”.
At the moment, there is nothing more than allegation with the Olympic Council of Ireland in receipt of an anonymous email making the allegation.
The Irish Independent has managed to get their hands on evidence suggesting the competitor used their own personal betting account to place two separate bets totalling €300, both bets were placed at odds of 12/1, backed a specific opponent to claim victory in a competition they themselves were partaking in and proved to be successful punts with the withdrawing €3,600 in cash on returning from the event.
Hickey revealed that if the allegation was indeed proved to be true that the competitor would face “severe sanctions” that could include exclusion from the Olympics.
However the event now underway and any investigation likely to take time that is unlikely to happen in this particular case