Two Irish boxers allegedly gambled on the 2016 Summer Olympics this month in Rio, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) isn’t publicly identifying the accused athletes.
The 16 days of the Olympics were largely a success for Brazil, a country that took plenty of criticism for its failure to properly prepare for the international spectacle. Zika, contaminated water, uninhabitable lodging, and last-second construction completion had many worried.
When the Games concluded on August 21, there was much to celebrate for the people of Brazil.
For Team Ireland, it was a different story. The country won just two silver medals, and is paying a hefty price for the runner-up finishes in rowing and sailing.
Irish boxer Michael O’Reilly was banned from participating in the Olympics after failing a drug test, and now two other Irish boxers are being accused of gambling on the Games.
Perhaps even more shocking, former Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) President Pat Hickey just got out of a Rio prison today.
During the opening ceremonies, hundreds of tickets allocated to the OCI were confiscated from two scalpers trying to sell them. Hickey denied any wrongdoing or trying to profit from reselling the free tickets, but resigned from his OCI position and relinquished his IOC membership.
Ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the IOC debuted its Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS). The first-of-its-kind program is a safeguarding network that fights against sports betting corruption and manipulation.
Dozens of gambling regulatory agencies and sports betting operators taking wagers on Olympic concentrations have opted into IBIS. It’s suspected that the IBIS protocols first detected the two Irish boxers placing inappropriate bets.
Sports gambling is as common in the UK and Ireland as apple pie is in America.
Paddy Power Betfair, Ladbrokes, Gala Coral, Sky Bet, and William Hill are some of the largest bookmakers in the UK and Ireland. And all participate in IBIS.
Ireland’s Olympic council confirmed today that the IOC is investigating two of its boxers.
The Ireland Amateur Boxing Association said it “would be very disappointed if any members of the team have engaged in a prohibited activity under the Conditions of Participation. For athletes participating in the Olympic Games, any form of gambling is prohibited.”
“Any potential disciplinary action would be undertaken by the OCI,” the boxing association said.
US Swimmer Ryan Lochte certainly made the most scandalous headlines in Rio, but it’s really Hickey who’s having the hardest go in Rio.
Hickey, who is in his early 70s, said he is glad to be out of prison but will remain in Brazil to defend his name. The OCI celebrated Hickey’s release.
Ireland President Michael Higgins is embarrassed of his country’s Olympics leadership.
“Each of these issues, if not adequately addressed, has the potential to undermine public confidence in our athletes,” Higgins said this week. “Issues of doping, alas never far from the Olympic story in recent years, questionable decision-making . . . and the controversy around the administration of our sports all deserve serious analysis and fearless responses,” Higgins concluded.