Rio_2016_Days_to_goJanuary 28 - Two of Britain's leading Olympics executives have spoken at a conference aimed at strengthening business ties between London and Rio de Janeiro – hosts of the next two Olympic Games

Organised by Major Events International (MEI) and the newly-launched major sporting events committee set up by the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (BCC), the conference coincided with the landmark of 2,016 days until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Rio and attracted an audience of businessmen from the events and infrastructure market.

They heard Paul Deighton, chief executive of London 2012, discuss the common agenda for both London and Rio, and say how in such scenarios you need help wherever you can get it.

He talked of the challenge which lies before them of translating their winning bid into a successful reality, one which the media will scrutinise every step of the way.

But he added the exciting prospect amid all this was the tremendous and evident capacity for change - something which touches every part of the country - bringing in the energy of younger generations, blending both public and private cooperation and embracing the challenge and opportunity.

John Armitt, chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the body charged with building the venues, facilities and infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games, then drummed home the state of the Games' progress.

He stressed the importance of setting and achieving goals, ascertaining all of the route planning and design and ensuring this is good enough in order to avoid change.

The opportunities he highlighted lay in industry, initiatives for sustainability and the environment, and how knowledge, ideas and, importantly, lessons learnt along the way can then be subsequently sold or exchanged with future hosts afterwards.

"It's nakedly commercial out there," he remarked.

Dennis Mills, chief executive of MEI, outlined the newly-formed committee's activities.

He said Brazil faced vast hurdles, with huge modernisation programmes in both the country's transport and infrastructure ahead of the Olympics and World Cup, and Brazil's 12 City Major Event Challenge, in which the budgets for some tower over equivalent budgets on these shores.


Work has already started on redeveloping Rio's iconic Maracanã Stadium, which is set to host the final of the 2014 World Cup and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics.

He said Brazil's volunteer programme would need to be advanced, but that MEI's prime concern was for the committee to bring focus on the iconic and multi-sector market and the opportunity of connecting companies here in the UK to those in Brazil

The conference was hosted by Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP.

The Brazilian Chamber of Commerce's major sporting events committee has developed a calendar of events for 2011.

It will include hosted visits by relevant Brazilian Government officials and stakeholders involved in planning and delivering the sporting events in Brazil, expert briefings from commercial companies with experience in this market and access to organisations which can assist with establishing a new business in Brazil.

The major sporting events committee is led by MEI due to their market penetration expertise and will be supported by a steering group consisting of international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), private Brazilian bank Bradesco, the Brazilian tourism office Embratur,·international consulting firm KPMG, international law firm Noerr, Brazilian airline TAM and Rede Record, the broadcaster rights holder of London 2012 and Rio 2016.

As the committee develops, there will be a particular focus on individual sectors including sponsorship, infrastructure and procurement, renewable technologies, security, the third sector and legacy.

At the inaugural meeting of the steering group, chairman of the Chamber Jaime Gornsztejn said: "I see the launch of this new initiative as an important development in the services offered by the Chamber.

"There is a unique window of opportunity for UK and Brazil to strengthen commercial ties and share our mutual experience of major events, and I am grateful that MEI has agreed to offer their expertise to lead this new, exciting committee."

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