Brazil's most costly soccer stadium may not host Olympic games

Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:46pm EDT
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By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA Oct 27 (Reuters) - In the midst of Brazil's deepening economic crisis, its cash-strapped capital may not have the money to fulfill a promise to host Olympic soccer games next year, leaving unused the most expensive stadium built for the 2014 World Cup.

The Rio 2016 organizing committee has given Brasilia until mid-November to sign a contract or be stripped of the seven games set to be held there next year, a spokesperson said.

Tickets for matches in Brasilia have already been on sale for months and it remains unclear how fans, many of whom may have bought flights and booked hotels, would be reimbursed.

Soccer games for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year are set to be played in six cities across the country to make use of venues built for the World Cup.

In Brasilia officials are scrambling to draw up a management plan for the games but say the debts inherited from the previous leftist governor have forced them to take tough decisions and commitment to the Olympics is uncertain.

The doubts about Brasilia's ability to hold the matches are the latest reminder of how popular euphoria about the World Cup and the Rio Olympics has soured as Brazil has plunged into recession and financial straits.

"We are doing our homework now to see if we can sign this in time, but it's not certain," Brasilia's sports secretary, Leila Barros, told Reuters.

Under the terms of the Rio 2016 contract, the city bears the cost of hosting the matches but the profits go to the organizing committee. In theory the city is meant to recoup the costs through the benefit to the local economy, with hotels and restaurants enjoying an increase in business.   Continued...