Task forces covering three different areas, the appointment of a project manager and greater collaboration with key stakeholders are among measures outlined by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to combat fears over preparations for Rio 2016.
In what has been an embarrassing few days for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, the next Olympic and Paralympic host city was blasted by the Association for Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) to the extent consideration of alternative venues was raised.
This has taken place alongside the continuation of strikes affecting an already delayed construction timetable, as well as the failure of anything more than vocal support being provided by the Brazilian authorities following a long awaited meeting in the capital Brasilia.
Speaking after the conclusion of the IOC Executive Board meeting held in conjunction with the SportAccord International Convention, President Thomas Bach outlined how they have concocted various measure to allay the fears of the sports.
This consists of dedicated joint task forces addressing the specific areas of construction, operations and engagement with the local population, as well as a local project manager with experience in construction to monitor progress on a day-by-day basis.
Both of these will be funded by the IOC, with appointments to the three task forces to be made over the next two weeks.
The IOC will also play an enhanced role in coordinating the work of all stakeholders in Brazil, while more frequent assessments will be made by the IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli to ensure the organisation is more aware of the day-to-day business.
Felli is due to have a video conference with the Organising Committee and Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes on Monday (April 14) before paying an assessment visit to the city a few days later.
Bach claimed these ideas had been met with full approval and “much appreciation” by Rio 2016 when they were informed via video link during the Executive Board meeting today.
“You have heard about concerns on preparations for Rio and we knew about these concerns because of the excellent work of the Coordination Commission,” he said.
“We had a very constructive atmosphere with our partners in Rio and we are undertaking all the measures to make the Games successful.
“We still believe they will deliver an excellent Games if the appropriate actions are taken now.”
Bach denied some sort of warning would be given to Rio rather like the “yellow card” given to Athens in the build-up to the 2004 Games, insisting that “this is not about giving cards but about ensuring the success of these Games”.
He also claimed the IOC is trying to lead by example because this is a better way than the pressure a public rebuttal of this sort would produce.
Bach refused to dwell on past mistakes and claimed “this is not about the past but it is about 2016”.
“We have to look into the future following our meeting these two days,” he said
“Maybe after the Games we can come back to this question but it is not responsible at the moment.”
He also cited tourist infrastructure and a great housing programme for the people of Rio as legacy benefits for the local population, although the fact that one of the three task forces relates to engagement with local people, suggests this is at least some concern.
Despite it being a fear raised by International Handball Federation (IHF) President Hassan Moustafa earlier this week, Bach also rubbished claims that the onset of the FIFA World Cup in June will cause further days with the uncharacteristically abrupt answer: “Not at all.”
Rio 2016 confirmed they had discussed and agreed all of the measures with the IOC.
“The expert advice and support offered by the IOC and the International Federations is always appreciated and we look forward to working even more closely with all of our partners to deliver great Games in Rio in 2016,” they said in a statement.
This article first appeared in www.insidethegames.biz and is reproduced with permission.