IOC President Discusses Brazil’s Preparations for 2016 Rio Games
By Stephanie Nebehay
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 9 (Reuters) – Brazil has presented an “encouraging report” about preparations for the 2016 Rio Games but vigilance is needed to ensure venues are ready, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.
IOC President Thomas Bach, who was heading to Rio for the World Cup final and talks with officials including President Dilma Rousseff, also said the IOC would review its ticketing procedures in the light of an unfolding FIFA scandal.
Brazil had risen to the challenge of hosting the World Cup and its people have shown a “positive attitude”, he said, adding: “We are very happy that many of the concerns which were mentioned before this World Cup did not turn into a reality.”
He was speaking to a news conference after Rio organizing committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman presented a report to the IOC’s executive board three-day meeting in Lausanne.
“We can really see that there is great dynamism there in the preparations, in particular the city of Rio de Janeiro where the mayor and governor have taken action on the government side and are making progress with regard to different venues,” Bach said.
“We are very confident that their World Cup is encouraging. We are very confident that we will have a great Games in Rio de Janeiro and that the sports-loving Brazilians with all their enthusiasm will be wonderful hosts for the athletes and all the participants.”
He added: “It was altogether an encouraging report. Also at the same time indicating that we have to stay vigilant and there is still no time to lose. But you really feel the determination and enthusiasm of the Organizing Committee and their partners.”
Bach said it was important to maintain the momentum to prepare venues in time, and for test events which will start later this year.
“This is the major issue to address now, to be in time to respect the schedule for the venues and do so of course in close collaboration,” he said.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Craig Reedie addressed the IOC board and talked about the anti-doping laboratory planned for Rio, Bach said. “He expressed again today in the board meeting WADA’s confidence that everything will be in place for an accreditation in time before the Olympic Games.”
Asked about precautions the IOC might take to avoid a repeat of ticketing scandals in Brazil, Bach said the matter had been discussed by the executive board on Wednesday and there would be close cooperation with the organizing committee and legal authorities in Rio.
“We have asked Mr. (Gilbert) Felli (IOC executive Games director), who will stay in Rio after my visit there, to coordinate with the organizing committee and legal authorities and public authorities in Brazil to check whether we need adaptations to our regulations according to the legislation in Brazil,” he added.
“We are awaiting this report. Then we will take the necessary decisions if any are needed.
“We have a system in place, this system has been improved after London (2012). But it is under constant monitoring because it has to be adapted to the national legislation in the host country,” said Bach.
Bach, a German national and the 1976 Olympic fencing champion, said he had watched Germany crush Brazil 7-1 in their World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.
He offered consolation to all Brazilians by recalling Germany’s defeat at home to Italy in extra-time at the 2006 semi-final.
“You have a day of mourning,” Bach said. “But then people start to realize that there is a match about the third place and this is again an opportunity to present your team, to present your country.
“Then a day after the final we had one million people in the streets of Berlin thanking the team and the organizers for a wonderful World Cup.
“I can fully understand that today maybe in Brazil there will be this day of mourning but the Brazilians are very optimistic people and they know that after each defeat there is a new victory waiting for you. I am sure that they will grasp this opportunity.”
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Steve Tongue and Josh Reich)