By Jonathan Rest in Rome
Spyros Capralos, the president of Greece’s Hellenic Olympic Committee, today slammed claims from the International Olympic Committee that he had damaged the reputation of the Olympic movement by breaching its code of conduct relating to the sale of tickets for the London 2012 games.
Capralos told Sportcal that he had received the "unanimous backing" of the executive board of the European Olympic Committees at its meeting in Rome yesterday, and vowed to fight the allegations that "have harmed my reputation both in Greece and within the Olympic community."
The IOC this week demanded that the HOC, as well as the national Olympic committees of Lithuania, Malta and Serbia, impose sanctions on several of their officials (including Capralos) for breaches of its code of conduct.
The move followed a report from the IOC’s ethics commission, acting on evidence obtained during an investigation into the sale of Olympic tickets by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper. The probe found that senior officials within the NOCs were using their positions to obtain and sell on tickets at many times their market price.
Profiteering on tickets in this way is strictly forbidden under IOC rules.
Capralos has maintained his innocence and earlier this year, the HOC said in a statement: "The whole process was totally transparent and in accordance with the laws of the Greek state. Therefore, there can be no issue on creating a 'black market' by the HOC which did not buy any tickets, whatsoever."
The ethics commission noted in its report that "everyone performing a leadership function within a sports organisation, especially an NOC, must behave impeccably and do nothing to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement. It believes that, if this is not the case, the individuals concerned must draw the necessary consequences therefrom."
It said of Capralos alone: "As a very well-known personality within the Olympic Movement, and president of the HOC, which has a privileged relationship within the OCOGs [Organising Committee of the Olympic Games] and the IOC, [it] gives this demonstration even greater creditability and thereby causes even greater damage to the reputation of the Olympic Movement."
Asked about that specific statement, Capralos told Sportcal: "I think it is totally unfair. There will be a big statement from EOC here in Rome. They strongly support not just me, but all the other members that were mentioned in the report. It was not on the agenda yesterday but the board took the time to discuss it. Their statement covers me fully."
Capralos, a successful businessman in Greece, said he was concerned at the effect the report would have on his reputation back home, but insisted he was committed to serving the HOC.
He added: "We have elections every four years. I have already announced that I will be a candidate at the next election in February  and it remains to be seen if I will be supported."
The IOC executive board accepted the commission’s recommendation that measures taken against the NOCs concerned should include banning them from reselling tickets, changes of authorised ticket reseller and reduced ticket allocations for the Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 games.
The commission also recommended a review of “the entire ticket sales system to ensure that such situations, particularly those involving the ATRs, do not reoccur in the future.”
The IOC has already begun the review, with a task force due to report its initial findings in January.
The other individuals named in the report were: Nicole Avramidou, the HOC’s head of marketing; Vytautas Zubernis, secretary general of the Lithuanian NOC; Lino Farrugia and Joe Cassar, president and secretary general, respectively, of the Maltese NOC; and Djordje Visacki, secretary general of the Serbian NOC.
IOC president Jacques Rogge said in the wake of the commission's report: "Under the scope of competence of the ethics code, the IOC can take action against a body, and can suspend or fine it. But for legal reasons it has no authority on the people themselves. But we’re studying if this can be changed in the ethics code."