Acting president of the European Olympic Committee Janez Kocijancic has called on authorities in Brazil to treat former EOC and Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey with compassion.

Speaking to the Association of National Olympic Committees ANOC general assembly in Doha, Kocijancic insisted that Hickey should be allowed to return to Ireland to prepare his defence against charges relating to an investigation in to alleged ticket touting at Rio 2016

It is believed that the 71-year-old, currently detained in Brazil, could have to wait for up to two years for his case to go to trial.

“Patrick Hickey is still detained in Brazil and not allowed to leave the country,” said Kocijancic.

“He was charged with criminal offences and we do not think he committed them.

“He is 71 and has heart problems. We hope he will be allowed home to prepare to prove his innocence.

“We do not ask for mercy, but for a human approach.”

IOC president Thomas Bach who is a qualified lawyer, said: “You know that Patrick Hickey is still in Brazil and under investigation, concerning the sale of tickets.

“We have to say, clearly, that as long as there is no result, our colleague enjoys the presumption of innocence.”

Hickey has denied all allegations made against him.

Bach also defended his organisation's decision not to throw Russia out of the Rio Games for doping and drew a comparison between the headlines that dominated the build-up to the Games and the predictions ahead of last week's US election.

"I don't know if you remember the headlines about security, about venues, about water quality, about politics in the country, about Zika - when so-called pest experts were calling for the Games to be cancelled - about clean athletes," said Bach.

"There was an atmosphere of doubt when we arrived in Rio; an atmosphere of accusations and allegations.

"I think when people study the election results of the last week they will see the gap between published opinion and public opinion, the gap between perception and reality.

"Well, maybe here is another case study with Rio 2016. Because now that all the dust has settled... we can see with great confidence that these Games were a huge success in many, if not all, respects."

The 62-year-old German then highlighted the 75% increase in the amount of hours broadcast around the world from Rio 2016 compared to London 2012, and heralded the five billion views the Games received across social media platforms, saying "half of the world's population was watching".

But Bach also used a significant part of his 43-minute speech to justify perhaps the most controversial decision of his tenure as IOC boss - refusing to issue Russia with a blanket ban.

The Olympic superpower's presence in Rio was thrown into doubt three weeks before the start of the Games when Canadian law professor Richard McLaren published his interim report into state-sponsored doping in Russia.

This explosive document, which followed a 2015 report into endemic cheating within Russian athletics, was commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and led to calls for Russia to be immediately suspended from international competition.

Bach and his executive board, however, left the decision on the eligibility of individual Russian athletes up to their respective international federations. The result was that Russia was able to send an almost full-strength team that finished fourth in the medal table.

The International Paralympic Committee, on the other hand, did ban the entire Russian team, while athletics, rowing and weightlifting also took strong stances at the Olympics.

Bach's weaker response to McLaren's findings was widely criticised by anti-doping experts, athletes' groups and the media, and many expect it will look even less defensible when the final report into how Russia manipulated tests between 2011 and 2015 is published next month.

But the former Olympic fencing champion was in a combative mood in the Qatari capital on Tuesday, telling delegates from the 205 national Olympic committees that the IOC's stance on Russia has been praised by "dozens of heads of states".

"They appreciated and acknowledged that we did not take a political decision, but that we took a decision in the interest of sport in respecting the rights of clean athletes," he said.

"This appreciation from so many world leaders is confirmation of our decision and encouragement for all of us when we had to take such a difficult decision in such a short amount of time."