"Things are moving in the right direction" for Rio 2016 claim IOC despite more criticism

Wednesday, 30 April 2014
By Nick Butler

Rio 2016 has faced a barrage of criticism over many different issues in recent weeks ©Getty ImagesApril 30 - Preparations for Rio 2016 are "moving in the right direction" and an "outstanding Games" remains likely, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has claimed in response to yet more criticism regarding progress.

This came after IOC vice-president John Coates said yesterday preparations were the "worst he has experienced" in his long association with the Games.
 
Coates' position in the inner circle of IOC President Thomas Bach makes it very unlikely his comments were made without Bach's backing, although the IOC have veered clear of a collective rebuke so as not to break a trend of not officially criticising future Olympic hosts in place ever since Athens 2004.

Speaking today, IOC communications director Mark Adams claimed, when visiting Rio de Janeiro last week, IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli found a "positive response" to his concerns.

"Working together with our partners in Rio we have put in place a number of measures to support the Games," Adams said.  

"These measures include dedicated joint task forces with the organisers, recruitment of a local construction manager, creating a high-level decision-making body bringing together the IOC, Government and all key partners of the project, and more regular visits by Gilbert Felli.

"Mr Felli has received a very positive response on the ground in the past few days, and a number of recent developments show that things are moving in the right direction.

"Now is a time to look forward to work together and to deliver great Games for Rio, Brazil and for the world, and not to engage in discussion of the past.

"We continue to believe that Rio is capable of providing outstanding Games."

Mark Adams and Gilbert Felli pictured either side of IOC President Thomas Bach when providing reassurances about Rio 2016 earlier this month ©AFP/Getty ImagesMark Adams and Gilbert Felli pictured either side of IOC President Thomas Bach when providing reassurances about Rio 2016 earlier this month ©AFP/Getty Images



After concerns over multiple aspects had been ongoing behind the scenes for a number of months, fears were brought to the public eye at the SportAccord Convention in Belek, Turkey, earlier this month when the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) strongly criticised construction plans during their General Assembly.

Since then, more concerns have been raised spanning issues from water pollution to anti-doping measures, and from Government backing to security. 

Earlier this week, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes was criticised by ASOIF and International Tennis Federation President Francesco Ricci-Bitti for making "inaccurate and unfair" claims that international federations are placing overly harsh demands on organisers.

But despite all of this, Rio 2016 have reiterated how they are focused on the work to be done as they remain confident they will ultimately meet all the agreed timelines and budgets. 

"The time has now passed when general discussions about the progress of preparations contribute to the journey towards the Games," a Rio 2016 statement said today.

"It is time for us to focus on the work to be done and on engaging with society.

"The recent announcement of the budget for infrastructure and legacy projects, in addition to the launch of the tender process for the Deodoro Olympic Park venues, were crucial developments and unequivocal signs of progress.

"The work being undertaken in partnership with the three levels of Government - Federal, State and City - is delivering progress.

"The support of the IOC is also crucial.

"We have a historic mission: to organise the first Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil and in South America.

"We are going to achieve this.

"In 2016, Rio will host excellent Games that will be delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budgets."

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