Havelange stadium not a taint to Rio 2016, say organisersAugust 10th, 2012 - 11:43 pm ICT by IANS
London, Aug 10 (IANS) The organisers of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio said Friday that having the athletics stadium named after disgraced former FIFA president Joao Havelange wouldn’t tarnish the image of the Games.
“I don’t think that naming a stadium after Joao Havelange will damage the Games in Rio,” Leonardo Gryner, the CEO of Rio 2016, said at a press conference which was held to brief Rio’s plans for its handover in the London Olympics closing ceremony Sunday.
“The organising committee don’t name stadiums. We just use the stadiums that are named by the owners of the stadium, which in this particular case is the city, so it is not up to us to change the name,” he added.
Havelange, who was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to Rio and to South America for the first time, was found by a Swiss court to have received at least 1.5 million Swiss francs (about $986,000 dollars) in bribes from collapsed marketing company ISL during the 1990s.
Despite being found a corrupt official, Havelange remains a “great legend” in Brazilian sports, said Gryner.
“We are very proud of what Mr.Havelange has done for sport worldwide and for sport in Brazil in particular. As far as I know, he did wrong and was punished so he paid for that. I am still very comfortable, he is a great legend in our sport,” he said.
The London Olympic Games are set to close on Sunday, and in four years’ time Rio de Janerio will welcome a crowd of athletes, coaches and journalist, in addition to sport fans.
Gryner said Rio 2016 organisers have benefitted from London organizers’ willingness to share information and experience.
He hoped Rio could improve on some issues, such as the problem of empty seats at some venues.
“We hope we’ll do better than London,” he said. “I’m sure we won’t solve all the problems and 2020 will do better than we did.”
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