Wanted: Rio Olympics look­ing for 13,000 due ticket re­funds

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Olympic or­ga­niz­ers in Rio de Janeiro are try­ing to hand over almost $3 mil­lion in ticket re­fund pay­ments due to 13,000 peo­ple.

One big prob­lem. They can't find them.

"We are hunt­ing af­ter peo­ple," Rio spokesman Mario An­drada told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Wed­nes­day. "We have the money, but don't know how to get it to them."

Rio or­ga­niz­ers al­lowed buy­ers to re­turn tick­ets, which were resold.

"In­stead of sell­ing them to scalpers, they gave the tick­ets back to us, and we resold them," An­drada said.

An­drada said 140,000 peo­ple re­turned Olympic and Par­a­lympic tick­ets for re­sale, a value of 80 mil­lion Brazil­ian re­als ($23.5 mil­lion).

About 90 per­cent have been re­im­bursed. But in­cor­rect bank de­tails and faulty credit card num­bers are ham­per­ing the re­main­ing re­funds that to­tal about 9 mil­lion re­als ($2.7 mil­lion).

An­drada said Brazil­ians rep­re­sented 99.9 per­cent of the un­paid money. He said or­gan­is­ers have tried to con­tact peo­ple through so­cial me­dia and news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ments. He said an or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee web­site is also open to han­dle re­funds.

Ticket prob­lems plagued the Rio Games. Or­ga­niz­ers ap­par­ently failed to sell enough tick­ets, leav­ing many empty seats at the venues and giv­ing the games and or­ga­niz­ers a black eye.

The Rio or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee will of­fi­cially dis­solve in Au­gust 2017, leav­ing be­hind only a lawyer's of­fice to han­dle out­stand­ing claims. Though Rio or­gan­is­ers have money to pay the ticket re­funds, An­drada ac­knowl­edged about 700 cred­i­tors are still await­ing pay­ments more than three months af­ter the Olympics ended.

He de­clined to say ex­actly how much was owed.

He said the cash-strapped or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee, which needed a gov­ern­ment bailout to pull off the Par­a­lympics, was fight­ing a cash-flow prob­lem and was still owed money by the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee.

"We will pay ev­ery­body, there is no ques­tion about it," An­drada said. "But we're not there yet."

He said or­gan­is­ers needed to make about 20,000 pay­ments to cred­i­tors, and are now down to 700.

"It's a long process," he said. "We have gone from 5,000 em­ploy­ees to 300, and in the mean­time we have this work."

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