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Head of Olympic planning in Rio city hall resigns

April 1, 2014
Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The head of Olympic planning for Rio de Janeiro's municipal government has resigned.

Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, president of the EOM (Municipal Olympic Company), will be leaving her post but will remain as an advisor, a city hall statement said Tuesday.

She will be replaced by Joaquim Monteiro, who works for the city government as a marketing specialist.

The resignation comes almost two weeks after IOC inspectors urged Rio organizers and government representatives to finalize budget decisions about who pays for what for the 2016 Olympics.

The Rio Games have been plagued by delays, partially centered on budget and planning problems among Brazil's three levels of government.

Brazil is spending about $15 billion on the games, a mix of private and public money, and faces pressure to rein in spending — or be seen to be doing so.

In a similar move six months ago, an army general took over the Olympic Public Authority, which coordinates planning between various layers of Brazilian government.

Speaking to Rio officials at the end of an inspection tour two weeks ago, a top IOC official warned of the need to finalize planning.

"At one point ... they have to decide who is doing what," said Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games.

"At some point they have to take decisions, otherwise the project cannot go forward."

A meeting announced for last week to deal with Olympic spending, which was to have included officials from the office of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, did not take place as scheduled.

At least two major projects are behind schedule: the second largest cluster of venues called Deodoro, and the Olympic golf course.

Work has yet to begin at Deodoro.

Nawal El Moutawakel, head of the inspection team, said "until ground is broken, Deodoro remains a project under intense pressure."

Last week the president of the International Golf Federation, Peter Dawson, said he was disappointed with slow progress on the golf course. Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics for the first time since 1904 in St. Louis.

"Rio has got quite a few challenges ahead of them to get things done in time," Dawson said. "We are new to the Olympic Games. Maybe this is normal. However, I think it's particularly disappointing given how long ago we got in among this and got things started."

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Follow Stephen Wade at http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

 
 

 

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