Rio Olympic preparations 'worst' ever : Coates

Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:24pm EDT
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RIO DEIRO (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president John Coates has called Brazil's preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games "the worst" he has ever seen and critically behind schedule.

Attending an Olympic forum in Sydney, Coates told delegates that construction had not commenced on some venues, infrastructure was significantly delayed and water quality was also a major concern two years out from the Games.

He warned, however, that there was no "plan B" to find another host.

"I think this is a worse situation than Athens," said the Australian, referring to preparations for the 2004 Games, which were plagued by construction delays.

"In Athens, we were dealing with one government and some city responsibilities. Here, there's three.

"There is little co-ordination between the federal, the state government and the city - which is responsible for a lot of the construction.

"And this is against a city that's got social issues that also have to be addressed; a country that's also trying to deal with the FIFA World Cup coming up in a few months.

"It's the worst that I've experienced."

The first Games on the South American continent have been plagued by delays, rising costs and bad communication between different levels of the Brazilian government and organisers, prompting criticism from international sports federations.   Continued...

John Coates, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President and Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad - Tokyo 2020, attends a news conference in Tokyo November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato