Rio 2016 needs help to set­tle debts

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SAO PAULO: Brazil’s Olympic or­gan­is­ers have asked fed­eral and mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments to help them pay back a deficit of 117 mil­lion reais (RM170 mil­lion) in­curred in the host­ing of the Par­a­lympics, the spokesman for the Games said on Tues­day.

Mario An­drada said the re­quest, which comes in spite of re­peated prom­ises the Games would not need pub­lic money, was nec­es­sary be­cause the two gov­ern­ments did not pro­vide the fund­ing they promised to host the Par­a­lympics last Septem­ber.

“We talked to them and told them the sit­u­a­tion and they have said they will help,” An­drada said.

“The deficit in De­cem­ber was 132 mil­lion reais and we have re­duced it to 117 mil­lion reais so far this year. We ne­go­ti­ated with sup­pli­ers and we are talk­ing to the gov­ern­ment.”

The Rio city gov­ern­ment said it was analysing the con­tracts but the sports min­istry strongly de­nied An­drada’s al­le­ga­tions and said it had “com­plied fully with all its com­mit­ments.”

“The fed­eral gov­ern­ment does not con­sider that it has any­thing pending with the Rio 2016 Com­mit­tee,” the min­istry said in a state­ment.

An­drada said the mu­nic­i­pal ad­min­is­tra­tion promised 150 mil­lion reais and paid only 30 mil­lion reais, while the fed­eral gov­ern­ment promised 100 mil­lion reais and paid less than 60 mil­lion reais.

The Par­a­lympics took place two weeks af­ter the flag­ship event but lacked spon­sors and or­gan­is­ers and strug­gled to sell the TV rights. That short­fall meant some coun­tries sent re­duced teams to Rio de Janeiro.

The Rio Olympics, the first ever held in South Amer­ica, were con­sid­ered a sport­ing suc­cess, but like the World Cup held in Brazil two years pre­vi­ously, they have been widely crit­i­cised for poor plan­ning and the lack of legacy.

Sev­eral of the main venues, in­clud­ing the aquat­ics cen­tre, are now ly­ing aban­doned.

Land­mark projects such as a new metro line stopped kilo­me­tres short of the main Olympic Park, and much of the build­ing for the Games has come un­der investigation in a sweep­ing cor­rup­tion probe.

An­drada said the Games were an over­all suc­cess and claimed that ev­ery coun­try since Syd­ney had ended their Olympic year in the red.

“The Games cost US$2.8 bil­lion (RM12.6 bil­lion),” he said. “That deficit of 132 mil­lion reais is around one per cent. As a per­cent­age it is small.”

There is no guar­an­tee that ei­ther gov­ern­ment will be able to pony up the money An­drade claims is owed.

Brazil is cur­rently in a fi­nan­cial bind as it stum­bles through its worst re­ces­sion in al­most a cen­tury. Reuters

The Rio Olympics cost RM12.6 bil­lion, but sev­eral of the main venues are now ly­ing aban­doned.

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