The Brazilian economy has slipped into recession less than two years before the cauldron is lit for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Economic output in South America’s biggest country was said to have fallen by 0.6 per cent in the three months to June, adding to a revised contraction of 0.2 per cent for the year’s first quarter.
The development is not necessarily a wholly bad thing for organisers facing a race against the clock to get facilities ready on time, since it may help to keep the cost of materials and labour under control, as was probably the case with construction for London 2012.
However, the sluggish economy may equally ratchet up pressure on Government spending in the wake of October’s Presidential election.
If it persists, moreover, it may make it harder for a party atmosphere to take root in the run-up to the Games, particularly if hard-pressed Brazilians once again take to the streets, as they did repeatedly in the year before the FIFA World Cup, staged in the country in June and July.
The latest economic figures may also be pressed into service by citizens of comparatively affluent countries, particularly in Western Europe, many of whom have grown sceptical about the benefits of staging sports mega-events for ordinary people in the host-cities and regions.
Such views are probably most apparent at present in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, which is bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the face of widespread and vocal local opposition.
But the results of a number of recent referendums would suggest that these sentiments are far from confined to the land of the fjords.
The Brazilian economy also contracted in 2009, the year Rio de Janeiro was awarded the Games at a vote in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, after five straight years of impressive growth.
That was followed by an exceptionally strong rebound in 2010.
Many must be hoping that a recovery is just as fast to manifest this time around.
This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.