Sports federations are making unacceptable demands about facilities for the Rio 2016 Games the city’s Mayor has said, in a strongly-worded rebut to ongoing criticism.
Speaking to reporters, Eduardo Paes said he would not bow to pressure being put on him, despite senior figures in the sports world casting doubt on preparations.
“Probably these federations will keep complaining about me until the day the Olympics start, because sometimes they want us to do things that are too large,” said Paes.
“They are making demands about the stadiums, but I will not accept them.”
He said one such “demand” by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for a 20,000-capacity stadium, when plans are for a 10,000-seater, has been rejected.
Paes’ strong words come as International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Director Gilbert Felli makes a visit to the city.
The IOC earlier this month asked Felli to visit Rio more often to ensure the organisation is more aware of day-to-day progress.
Paes said he did not know exactly what Felli was doing in the city but insisted he was “very welcome”, adding: “It’s important he is here and that we can provide him with more information.”
As well as tasking Felli with making more visits, the IOC has introduced a host of other measures to get preparations for the Games back on track.
Three task forces covering construction, operations and engagement with the local population have been set up, and a project manager will be hired.
The IOC announced the measures after the Association for Summer Olympic International Federations President Francesco Ricci Bitti, who is also ITF President, hit out at preparations during the SportAccord Convention in Turkey earlier this month.
He said the Brazilian Government was “delaying, delaying and delaying” in its support.
His concerns were echoed by officials from 17 other sports, who have complained to the IOC’s Executive Committee.
Officials from eight sports to be staged in the second main Games hub at Deodoro are due to visit the proposed venue next month to assess progress.
Paes said: “We have made commitments and we will do everything possible to deliver what we promised without any delays and with the quality and the conditions needed for each sport to host their event.
“We are not going to deliver glamorous stadiums that will become ‘white elephants’ in the future, like Beijing did with the Bird’s Nest.
“My focus is on the legacy for my city.
“It’s good to know there are no delays on anything related to the city’s legacy, the demands are about the stadiums.”
This article first appeared in www.insidethegames.biz and is reproduced with permission.