Putting governance in order is vital, head of London 2012 ODA advises Rio 2016 organisers
Wednesday, 11 July 2012
July 11 - Sir John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), has urged Rio de Janeiro to sort out its governance well ahead of the start of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympics.
Sir John (pictured top) was speaking at a Major Events International (MEI) event in London, entitled "Life after London – Brazil, helping British companies understand the marketplace in the South American nation".
As the head of the ODA, Armitt has been the man ultimately responsible for delivering London 2012 on time, and he took the opportunity when talking to business leaders to give some advice to his counterparts in Rio.
On the face of it Rio's organisational structure is more complex than that of London, with two deliberative bodies, two control bodies, a management body and two consulting bodies.
"Our number one comment all the time to Rio has been sort out your governance," said Sir John.
"Very easy to say, very difficult for them to do particularly... where you have Federal State interest.
"If you do not get your governance sorted out and whose budget is going to get raided, those are the things which cause delays and create problems."
Rio already seems to have made progress on the issue of governance, with Federal, State and Municipal Governments in Brazil having assured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they will cover any extra funding the Organising Committee needs.
The Organising Committee is also not responsible for works, with the cost of venue and infrastructure delivery being managed by the three layers of Government.
One of the major differences Sir John said he saw between London and Rio is the increased use of temporary venues in the latter.
"Rio is different," he said.
"They are already going down the temporary facility route more than we did.
"We built an enormous Aquatics Centre, Rio have decided theirs will be a temporary structure as where they will locate it is on some of their most valuable land."
Last week, work began on the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, which will cover 1.18 million square metres and cater for 14 Olympic events.
The timing ensured that the park would already be in construction mode by the time Rio becomes an Olympic city in one month's time.
But Sir John foresees Brazil's challenge lying more in the road and rail network than in building sport venues.
"Their challenge as far as I can see is more about infrastructure than facilities," he said.
"For us we spent 20 per cent of our budget on infrastructure.
"If I was in Rio the challenge I think would be that building infrastructure takes longer than building facilities.
"You can put up a velodrome inside a fence, when you move into road and rail transport systems the interfaces are so complex and that is going to take longer.
"It is a different challenge to us.
"Their challenges are unique, their political system is different from ours.
"What helps is the fixed end date, and in the sense you just take that and work backwards.
"Frankly it is always frightening, they have seven years and three are gone already."
July 2012: Rio 2016 to learn from London 2012 preparations at special briefing