Doubts over Par­a­lympics as IPC stages cri­sis talks

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - RIO 2016 - By Ben Rumsby

Rio’s stag­ing of the Par­a­lympics was on the brink of melt­down last night af­ter a judge blocked a £66 mil­lion Gov­ern­ment bailout which could force up to 40 coun­tries to pull out of the Games.

The In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee was locked in emer­gency talks with the Rio 2016 or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee and the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties over the cri­sis, which was pre­vent­ing the pay­ment of travel grants to na­tional Par­a­lympic com­mit­tees.

Rio 2016 was al­ready a fort­night late pay­ing grants to­talling around £6 mil­lion, in­clud­ing a six-fig­ure sum to the Bri­tish Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee, which funds the cost of flights for all ath­letes and sup­port staff.

Great Bri­tain was not among those coun­tries which would be forced to pull out in the event of non-pay­ment, which could wipe out al­most the whole of Africa and Asia from the Games.

Rio 2016 has been ac­cused of spend­ing money ear­marked for the Par­a­lympics on the Olympics, the bud­get for which has bal­looned amid Brazil’s worst re­ces­sion for decades.

Plans to au­tho­rise a bailout of 270 mil­lion reais (£66 mil­lion) for the Games were de­railed when a judge ruled that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil could not pro­vide pub­lic funds un­less its ac­counts were made pub­lic.

Rio 2016 di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Mario An­drada con­firmed yes­ter­day the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee was con­test­ing the in­junc­tion, adding of the cri­sis: “We’re go­ing to do what needs to be done.”

An­drada was also forced to deny on Satur­day that Rio 2016 had run out of money or was plan­ning to cut the Par­a­lympic sports pro­gramme.

Another area of huge con­cern for the IPC is ticket sales, with only a third of the to­tal tick­ets avail­able for the Games hav­ing been bought so far.

An­drada ad­mit­ted on Satur­day that in­ter­est in the 2016 Par­a­lympics, which is due to be­gin on Sept 7, had so far been “below ex­pec­ta­tions”.

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