POSTED: November 24th 2008

World Cup works for Rio

Maracana: hosted the World Cup Final in 1950 and will do so again in 2014 / lake images
Maracana: hosted the World Cup Final in 1950 and will do so again in 2014 / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON: Leaders of Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 bid believe that Brazil’s hosting of football’s World Cup two years earlier is a strength rather than a weakness.

Synergy can be a key factor, they believe, in Copenhagen next October when all the uncertainty will finally come to an end for the Rio team and their rivals from Chicago, Madrid, Rio and Tokyo.

Such uncertainty is a thing of the past for Brazil as far as world football’s greatest event is concerned – and Rio will be the capital of the tournament which reaches a climax in the iconic Maracana stadium.

But the remodelling of Maracana, built for the 1950 World Cup, is being undertaken with the Olympic Games in mind, including the specific staging demands of the Opening and Closing ceremonies.

Rio bid president Carlos Nuzman says: “We feel the World Cup of 2014 and the Olympics of 2016 would have great synergy. It also means that much of the work will be ready two years in advance of the Games which has to be an advantage.

“Rio and Maracana will play a very important role in the World Cup just as it will stage the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

Preparatory work

“We are still preparing our budgets but obviously there is a benefit to Rio 2016 from the World Cup preparatory work which, in the present economic climate, must be a positive factor.”

Investment already projected for the World Cup and from which Rio can benefit includes security and safety systems, new international airports in Rio and Sao Paulo as well as local transport, venues and hotel accommodation.

Rio can point to a host of precedents for adjacent hostings of World Cup and Olympics: Mexico staged the Olympic Games in 1968 and the World Cup in 1970, Germany the Olympics in Munich in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974, the United States the World Cup in 1994 and the Games in Atlanta in 1996.

Bid general secretary Carlos Osorio believes that the cost advantages accrued from the World Cup preparations should be of particular appeal to IOC members at a time of global economic sensitivity.

He says: “South America is ready. Of course, we could organise the Olympic Games without the World Cup happening but it so happens that the World Cup will offset a significant amount of the investment necessary - which must be an advantage for the Olympic Movement.

“That is one reason why we say it makes even more sense to come to Rio: 2016 is the right moment for our city, for our country and for our continent.”

Keywords · Rio de Janeiro · 2016 · Copenhagen · IOC · bid cities · Brazil · 2014 World Cup · FIFA · Maracana · Carlos Nuzman

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