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Chief coordinator of Rio’s 2016 Olympics resigns triggering fears about Brazil’s ability to stage the games

Friday, August 16th 2013 - 03:15 UTC
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Marcio Fortes handed his resignation to President Rousseff and complained the office lost its influence Marcio Fortes handed his resignation to President Rousseff and complained the office lost its influence

The head of the public body coordinating planning for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has resigned, raising concerns about the city's ability to stage the first games in South America. Resignation of Marcio Fortes, who headed the Olympic Public Authority, was confirmed Wednesday by the organization.

The APO said Fortes handed in his resignation to Brazil President Dilma Rousseff. Fortes had complained that the office lost its influence.

The APO coordinates preparations for the games between Brazil's federal, state and local governments, but is not responsible for delivery or construction of Olympic-related projects.

The resignation may concern inspectors from the International Olympic Committee, who will be in Rio at the end of the month to assess progress on preparations for the games. The IOC has expressed concerns that planning and construction are moving slowly.

Earlier this month, Leo Gryner, chief operating officer of the local organizing committee, acknowledged 700 million dollars in public money may be needed to cover a shortfall in the operating budget. He also acknowledged Rio got a late start on games construction.

The operating budget — to run the games and not to build infrastructure — was listed at 2.8 billion in the original bid document, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the budget finally reaches between 3.5 and 4 billion.

The cost of the Olympics and the 2014 Brazil World Cup are getting some negative attention. Protests in June during the Confederations Cup — a warm-up for the World Cup — focused on Brazil's poor schools and health care system, contrasted with the spending on mega-sports events.

Small protests have continued since then, stressing priorities in public spending.

Brazil is spending about 13.3 billion dollars of largely public money to stage the World Cup. Olympics organizers have yet to finalize their budgets, but public spending on the event could match that of the World Cup — or even exceed it.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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  • Rufus

    What makes this slightly worse is that the city that has been the “normal” fallback city for when catastrophically bad things happen, either worldwide or specifically to a host country, is also almost certainly out of contention.

    I'm sure that between Brazil pulling, and anyone and everyone in the IOC pushing that it'll go ahead and be a success. Heck, if Greece could host it in the midst of a minor local economic meltdown then Brazil should be able to cope. And lets face it, no-one needs to explain to them how to host a carnival.

    Aug 16th, 2013 - 06:46 am 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 1 Rufus

    That is the first time I have seen the organising of a well established jamboree compared to organising for the first time the most prestigious World Sporting Event to be held in South America!

    Every credit to Marcio Fortes in resigning when he could have stayed and kept taking the money: it’s not his organisation that is failing after all.

    At least Rousseff has no excuse for not knowing what and where the problems were when the shit hits the fan come 5th August 2016.

    And if they think the cost will will hit USD 4.7 Bn NOW, just imagine what the real cost will end up at!

    Aug 16th, 2013 - 01:20 pm 0
  • macsilvinho

    Those who defend Brazil as host for a World Cup and Olympic Games do not have the slightest idea that this only serves to the corrupt government of Brazil that unfortunately will do a terrible job in the end and the propaganda will compensate the disaster like it is absolutely acceptable in this country - the corruPTos will blame the Cuba embargo by the US and everyone will forget watching old videos of the pope's visit and the carnivals will show a spectacular Brazil again! The rest of the world will go on thinking the same about Brazil: this is not a serious country and it was a lie that it was getting so. Sorry.

    Aug 18th, 2013 - 09:58 am 0
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