Irish Sports Minister Shane Ross has confirmed that former Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) President Pat Hickey will not represent the country at the European Games here after receiving an invitation to attend from the European Olympic Committees (EOC).
An EOC spokesperson told insidethegames yesterday that Hickey would visit the Belarusian capital for the second edition of the European Games,due to take place from June 21 to 30.
The Irishman, the former EOC President, self-suspended himself from all sporting roles after being arrested on alleged ticket scalping charges while at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Having led the EOC from 2006 to 2017, Hickey is responsible for the creation of the European Games, the first of which was held in Baku in 2015.
Ross is the latest in a line of Irish officials, led by OFI President Sarah Keane and chief executive Peter Sherrard, to question the EOC's decision to invite Hickey.
"He would not have been my choice but he's not representing Ireland, and we've made that absolutely clear," he said, as reported by the Irish Mirror.
"We're writing a letter to the EOC to let them know that he's not representing Ireland.
"The OFI, as you know, has reformed remarkably well and we're very happy that we have been able to restore funding to them.
"But Pat Hickey is not representing Ireland and it is up to them whom they invite.
"It's obviously not something that we welcome and it's obviously something that we have made clear that he does not represent us."
The EOC have defended themselves by releasing a statement which argued that they had invited all former Presidents to attend the Games.
"As he is self suspended and without any cause to prevent him from going about his daily life, it would be wrong of the EOC to act in a different manner unless the situation regarding Patrick Hickey changes," they said.
Hickey, who has denied wrongdoing, is facing charges of theft, tax evasion, money-laundering and criminal association after hundreds of tickets to Olympic events at Rio 2016 were seized by police.
He and Ross have had a tumultuous relationship after the Minister flew to Rio to discuss the incident with Hickey during the scandal.
Hickey viewed the meeting as a success, while Ross said in an interview on Ireland's Late Late Show that he came out "battered and bruised, having achieved very little at that meeting".
"He got what he wanted out of that meeting, which was nothing," Ross said.
On his return to Ireland, Hickey criticised Ross for failing to treat him with "humanity".
"I would have thought that a Minister of Sport - and I'm one of the highest office holders of sport in Ireland - that he would have taken due care and attention to look after a fellow citizen and a fellow human, and to show some humanity," Hickey told Newstalk a year after the scandal.
The war of words continued after an Irish Government-commissioned report into the affair was published in August 2017.
Ross claimed the "rotten culture" of the OFI under Hickey had been revealed and criticised him for failing to appear in front of a Parliamentary Committee discussing the report.
Hickey's trial had been due to begin in Rio in November 2017, only to be suspended by the Brazilian Supreme Court, and it is now unclear when - or if - it will take place.
He returned to Ireland for medical reasons after the Association of National Olympic Committees, of which he was a vice-president, agreed to loan him money for bail.
Hickey could still return as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member but has been replaced at both the EOC and the reformed OFI.
The IOC Ethics Commission has still not made a decision on Hickey's status within the Olympic Movement.