Rio cancels contract for Olympic tennis center due to delays

Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:38pm EST
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The city of Rio de Janeiro canceled the construction contract for the Olympic tennis center on Thursday, just 200 days before the start of the games, fining the consortium responsible for delays and breach of contract for the mostly finished venue.

Rio has slapped an 11 million reais ($2.7 million) fine on the consortium, according to an entry in the city's Official Gazette. The consortium is comprised of local builders IBEG Engenharia e Construções, Tangran Engenharia and Grupo Damiani.

Rio City Hall, which is responsible for the construction, did not say how the tennis center, which is 90-percent complete, will be finished.

The consortium said in a statement it was "totally perplexed" by the canceled contract and planned to go to court seeking compensation from the city for financial losses and damage to the member companies reputations.

Last week, laid off construction workers who had been building the venue protested outside, saying they were owed money by the consortium. A nearby shipping container caught fire after the protest, but no damage was done to Olympic facilities and no one was injured.

($1 = 3.99 Brazilian reais)

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Bill Rigby and Tom Brown)

Brazil's Marcelo Zormann (bottom) hits a return to Brazil's Thiago Monteiro during the Correios Brasil Masters Cup 2015, which is a test event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, at the Tennis Olympic Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 12, 2015. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes