IOC calls speculation about relocating 2016 Rio Olympics 'premature'

Wednesday April 9th, 2014

IOC President Thomas Bach said holdups over the 2016 Rio Games have reached a critical juncture. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) IOC President Thomas Bach said holdups over the 2016 Games have reached a critical point. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday that talk over moving the 2016 Olympic Games from Rio de Janeiro is "premature," even as worries mount over Brazil's preparations for the event.

According to an Associated Press report, IOC officials and a number of sporting federations are concerned that Rio will not be ready in time for the games. Though the IOC said it is not yet considering a backup plan, the organization acknowledged that construction setbacks and political dysfunction have raised serious questions about Brazil's status as host.

Even though relocating the games on such short notice would be nearly impossible, the IOC is leaving open the possibility. From the AP:

Asked whether there had been discussion of moving the games out of Brazil, IOC spokesman Mark Adams stopped short of ruling it out.

"At this stage, that would be far too premature," he said. "We're not talking about Plan B. We're still talking about delivery of the games."

"The IOC has outlined its concerns for some time now - that time is running out," Adams said after Rio organizers spoke to the executive board by video conference. "We believe that Rio 2016 can still deliver good games if appropriate action is taken immediately. The clock is ticking. Every day is crucial, but they can still deliver."

Though pressure over the 2016 Games is mounting, Brazil is also struggling to prepare for this June's World Cup. Last week, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke admitted that Brazil is "not ready" for the tournament, which is less than 10 weeks away.

Lack of preparedness has become a theme for major global sporting events. The 2014 Sochi Games experienced massive cost overruns, and a number of facilities were not ready in time. Some, including former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, questioned whether London was ready to host the 2012 Games, particularly in the realm of security. FIFA also deemed South Africa unprepared to host the 2010 World Cup  just months prior to the tournament. The AP report also recalls problems leading up to the 2004 Athens Games, which the IOC said were not as serious as the issues currently facing Brazil.

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