Rio faces tough times but IOC upbeat about preparations

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, (Reuters) – International Olympic Committee officials said on Wednesday they were confident next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro would not be compromised by the political turmoil and economic downturn in Brazil, although preparations had “inevitably” been affected.

The Rio Olympics have been plagued by delays for years but, they said, the situation was improving.

However, as preparations go into the final stretch, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is facing impeachment and the economy is in a tight spot.

“It will inevitably affect the Games,” IOC Vice President Craig Reedie told reporters when asked if Brazil’s situation had any impact on preparations.

“There are challenges,” he said after Rio Games organisers delivered a progress report at the IOC Executive board meeting.

Opposition politicians launched the impeachment process against Rousseff last week for allegedly breaking Brazil’s budget laws. The Supreme Court suspended proceedings on Wednesday pending a decision on its constitutional validity.

Political wrangling over the impeachment could drag on for at least six months at a time when the government faces legislative gridlock, the deepest recession in three decades and a corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Police investigating the alleged corruption around Petrobras also plan to probe more than $10 billion of construction contracts for the Olympics in Rio.

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