Experts sent in to help with Rio 2016 Olympics as preparations are 'in chaos'
The Olympic governing body's VP John Coates described preparations as the “worst” he's seen amid fears Brazil is overstretched with the World Cup there this summer
An Olympics chief has warned preparations for the 2016 Rio games are in chaos.
International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates described them as the “worst” he had ever seen.
Organisers have taken unprecedented action by placing experts in the local organising committee to ensure the Games take place.
“The situation is critical on the ground,” said the IOC chief. “No one is able to give answers at the moment.”
His warning prompted fears Brazil may have ‘overstretched’ their resources as the country faces a race against time to be ready for the World Cup, which starts in June.
FIFA, world football’s governing body, has admitted there are problems with several venues.
Two workmen died on the construction of the stadium in Sao Paulo in November. It is still not ready, and the rising cost of hosting the tournament - put at around £7.5 billion - and the Olympics, with a further two billion pounds added for infrastructure alone, has led to rioting in major cities.
Coates, who has been involved in the Olympics for nearly 40 years, has made six trips to Rio as part of the commission responsible for overseeing the preparations.
He said that one of the experts embedded in the local committee was a construction project manager.
“ The IOC has adopted a more hands-on role, it is unprecedented for the IOC - but there is no plan B. We are going to Rio,” said the veteran Aussie official.
“I think this is a worse situation than Athens in 2004. It’s the worst that I’ve experienced.
“We have become very concerned. They are not ready in many, many ways. We have to make it happen and that is the IOC approach.
"You can’t walk away from this.”
Preparations for the 2004 Athens Games were marred by delays in construction, though the were ultimately delivered in time.
Only two people are working in the Rio 2016 test event department despite test events being scheduled to start this year, two years ahead of the opening ceremony.
Coates said that construction has not even started on some venues in Rio, which will host South America’s first Olympics, while infrastructure is significantly delayed and the city has “social issues that need to be addressed”.
Rio has the same number of staff - 600 - as London did at the same stage in their preparations for 2012.
But he claimed they do not have the necessary experience.
“The challenges for sport leaders and team management is that they’re not getting answers to the questions when they go over,” added Coates, who was involved in the organisation of the Sydney 2000 Games as head of the Australian Olympic Committee.
“Can they use the car parks in the village for recovery centres? What will be the time to take from this venue to this venue?
“All of those things, they’re being fobbed off.
“No one is able to give answers at the moment.”