RIO DE JANEIRO: The erratic preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 have stumbled again with an offer of resignation from the president of the supervisory Autoridade Pública Olímpica writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Marcio Fortes, a former urban development minister in the previous administration of President Lula, was appointed by successor Dilma Rousseff in July 2011.
The APO’s role is one of central coordination between the government, the state and the city and presenting a united front to the ever-more-concerned International Olympic Committee.
It was modelled on the Olympic Delivery Authority at London 2012.
Fortes’s wish to step down could hardly come at a more inopportune moment. He had been expected to attend Monday’s formal, set-piece signing of a technical cooperation agreement between Rio 2016 and the United Nations environment programme.
Earlier this year Nawal El Moutawakel, chairman of the IOC’s coordination commission, indicated that Rio needed to demonstrate significant progress. Doubts about its ability to do so were expressed last month by Alexander Popov, a member of the IOC commission.
Russia’s former world and Olympic champion swimmer said: “There are already red lights up ahead . . . the main concern is when will people get down to work? This is the major worry.
“It’s more than three years since Rio was chosen as host city and only when we went there this last time in February could we see some improvement. In January they appointed a new ceo [Sidney Levy] so it’s essential for him to have got things moving.”
The Rio Olympic organisers have escaped a concerted close focus while far greater concern has centred on Brazil’s much-delayed preparations for the football World Cup finals across the length and breadth of the country next year.
Uncertainty over the Games preparations was exacerbated by delays in publication of the budget and an admission that $700m from a government contingency fund will be required to cover likely overruns.
Further embarrassment came last week when the World Anti-Doping Agency suspended Rio’s dope-test laboratory.