Rio organisers seek government help to pay debt

Rio Olympics 2016

Organisers of Rio Olympics have asked federal and municipal governments to help them pay back a deficit of 117 million reais (INR 240 Crore) incurred in the hosting of the Paralympics.
Mario Andrada, director of communications for Rio 2016 said it was necessary to reach out to the two governments because they did not provide the funding as promised to host the Paralympics last September. “We talked to them and told them the situation and they have said they will help,” said Andrada, according to a Reuters report.

“The deficit in December was 132 million reais (INR 271 crore) and we have reduced it to 117 million (INR 240 Crore) so far this year. We negotiated with suppliers and we are talking to the government.”

Andrada said the municipal administration promised 150 million reais (INR 308 Crore) and paid only 30 million (INR 61.6 Crore), while the federal government promised 100 million reais(INR 205 Crore) and paid less than 60 million (INR 123.3 Crore).

The Rio city government said it was analysing the contracts but the sports ministry strongly denied Andrada’s allegations and said it had “complied fully with all its commitments. The federal government does not consider that it has anything pending with the Rio 2016 Committee,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Paralympics took place two weeks after the flagship event but lacked sponsors and organisers and struggled to sell the TV rights. That shortfall meant some countries sent reduced teams to Rio de Janeiro.

The Rio Olympics, the first ever held in South America, were considered a sporting success, but like the World Cup held in Brazil two years previously, they have been widely criticised for poor planning and the lack of legacy.

Several of the main venues, including the aquatics centre, are now lying abandoned. Landmark projects such as a new metro line stopped miles short of the main Olympic Park, and much of the building for the games has come under investigation in a sweeping corruption probe.

Andrada said the Games were an overall success and claimed that every country since Sydney had ended their Olympic year in the red. “The games cost 2.8 billion dollars (INR 18,106 Crore),” he said. “That deficit of 132 million reais (INR 271 Crore) is around 1 percent. As a percentage it is small.”

There is no guarantee that either government will be able to pony up the money Andrade claims is owed. Brazil is currently in a financial bind as it stumbles through its worst recession in almost a century.

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