UCD Olympian speaks out against Rio ticket process

SPEAKING in an interview with the University Observer, UCD graduate and Irish Olympic rower Claire Lambe has criticised the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) for their inability to provide tickets for her friends and family to see her compete at the Rio Olympic Games.The twenty six year-old spoke about her frustrations with OCI’s official ticket reseller Pro10 Sports Management, eventually leading to her friends having to “find some (tickets) outside the country” in order to see her compete in Rio.Lambe, who competed alongside Sinead Jennings in the Lightweight Double Sculls final for Team Ireland, detailed her friends and family’s frustrations with Pro10 stating “[they] had an awful time with Pro10 in that they were unresponsive to emails, unresponsive to phone calls, and then eventually they told them that they never had any rowing tickets whatsoever – and were never going to.”Lambe’s parents spent €400 each, along with additional travel expenses for the week of rowing in Rio. She mentioned how the steep cost “ruled out my sisters coming” and that the tickets secured by her parents were purchased under the fear that “they wouldn’t be able to get tickets elsewhere.”She elaborated on the ticket process, saying how her friends “ended up buying them through other country sellers and… one of my friends even got totally done on a scam website. There was no proper Irish vendor that I was aware of, other than Pro10.”Lambe’s comments come after an incredibly difficult month for the Irish Olympic landscape. In August, OCI president Pat Hickey was arrested and detained for his involvement in a supposed ticket touting racket.Pro10 were selected as the OCI’s official ticket provider prior to the Olympic Games but, as was announced by Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport Shane Ross, now face an inquiry into the ticket touting allegations.A Pro10 statement, released last month, on behalf of the directors of the firm, wishes “to make clear that they [Pro10] have always acted properly and fully in line with the ATR [Authorised Ticket Reseller] guidelines.”The statement stresses that the directors of Pro10 intend on continuing “to cooperate fully and promptly with inquiries by the Brazilian authorities.” Pro10 has demanded an apology from the Rio Olympic organisers as 823 OCI tickets were seized when THG Sports official Kevin Mallon was originally arrested in Rio on August 5th.Pro10 had not replied to requests for comment at the time of going to print.To read the full interview conducted with Lambe by Conall Cahill, click here.