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Brazilian National Olympic Committee Continues Effort to Cut Costs, Clean Up Image

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Dancers rehearse before a welcoming ceremony for athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Village. Photo: AFP: Yasuyoshi Chiba

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member Bernard Rajzman has become the latest victim of the Brazilian National Olympic Committee’s (COB) clean-up and cost-cutting measures.

Rajzman has been dismissed as Director of Institutional Relations to become the third COB director fired since Paulo Wanderley took office as the committee’s president. With his departure, the new president took another step cleaning the ranks from senior employees inherited by his predecessor, Carlos Arthur Nuzman. Two weeks ago, the COB had already dismissed another important executive, Agberto Guimarães, sports director. Sérgio Lobo, Nuzman’s secretary-general and right-hand man, had been dismissed earlier this month. While the former president was still in prison, General Augusto Heleno, head of the Olympic institute,  resigned.

The cuts are related not only to the connection between senior leaders and Nuzman, but also to their high salaries. Paulo Wanderley wants to change the leadership of the entity, while at the same time having to cut the budget of the COB radically. At the beginning of next year, the House must vote for changes as the text of the bill under discussion takes 60 percent of the entity’s maintenance budget.

The layoffs are expected to generate savings of up to $1.5 million per year, since not only the top of the entity was disconnected, but also low-level employees, such as the woman who took care of the library. At a Chamber hearing, Paul Wanderley talked about cutting up to 25 percent of the roughly 200 employees.

Dismissed on Monday, Bernard Rajzman is a former volleyball player who gained worldwide fame as inventor of the “Star Trek” serve, retired, he was Sports Secretary under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. In the COB, he has been the chef de mission with the Brazil Olympic team for several times, including the last two editions of the Summer Olympics in London and Rio. In 2013, he was elected a member of the IOC.

This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.

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