September 28, 2011

Brazil Olympic Committee chief denies irregularities

Rio De Janairo – The head of Brazil Olympic Committee (COB), Carlos Arthur Nuzman, has denied any irregularities in the process of relocation of residents to allow for construction of highways and venues for the 2016 Olympic Games.

At a news conference in Rio on Tuesday, Nuzman commented on a report published by Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.

According to Rolnik’s report, citizens from several areas of the city are being displaced so that the several highways can be built for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

However, she said, those displaced were being offered limited compensation and were being relocated to regions much farther from downtown.

Nuzman denied any wrongdoing in the relocation process, saying that Rolnik had never met with him or other COB representatives to discuss the matter.

He added that a more recent report, made by Wilfred Lemke, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, praised the organisers of the event.

“All the relocations are being made either through talks or courts. Nobody is being removed by force,’’ he said.

Nuzman was also questioned in regards to the possibility of the Olympic Games budget being progressively increased over the next few years, as it occurred in the 2007 Pan American Games, whose budget suffered several changes.

According to Nuzman, although the Pan American Games’ budget was higher than predicted, the sports facilities delivered to the population were of Olympic level, bigger than it was necessary to the games.

The idea, according to him, was to build sites, which could also be used in the Olympic Games if Rio was selected as host city.

Due to the facilities being above average, he said, almost half of the sports facilities necessary for the 2016 Games had already been built.

All sites built for the Pan American Games will be used in 2016, Nuzman said. Some, such as the velodrome and the Joao Havelange Olympic Stadium, which will host athletics competitions, will undergo renovations or receive temporary extra seats.

Others, such as the Maracanazinho gymnasium, which will host volleyball matches, were ready for the Games, he added.  (Xinhua/NAN)