Picciani Details London Visit - Rio Roundup

(ATR) Also: Rio de Janeiro state unaware of potential emergency federal loan; auditors warn about metro delivery timeline.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  People walk towards the Olympic stadium as they explore the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during the Open East Festival on July 27, 2013 in London, England. Open East Festival marks the one year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony as well as the start of the phased opening of the Park to the public.  (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: People walk towards the Olympic stadium as they explore the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during the Open East Festival on July 27, 2013 in London, England. Open East Festival marks the one year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony as well as the start of the phased opening of the Park to the public. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

(ATR) Brazilian sports minister Leonardo Picciani spent two days in London learning the legacy of the 2012 Games.

The two day visit on June 6-7 included site visits to the London Olympic Park as well as a meeting with British Minister of Sport and Culture John Whittingdale. Picciani said that the meeting would encourage continued cooperation between Brazil and the Commonwealth countries after the 2016 Olympic Games.

"The visit to the Olympic Park is important to know the legacy of experiences that have worked and have them as an example to Rio de Janeiro," Picciani said in a statement given to Around the Rings.

"We also spoke with the British authorities about how are preparing Games security and combating the Zika virus so we can inspire confidence in the Brazilian preparations and show they will be a success for the city of Rio de Janeiro."

Picciani told the British sports leaders that Rio should have all venue construction wrapped up by the end of the month when the Olympic velodrome is inaugurated and tested.

State Unaware of Emergency Loan

A spokesperson for the Rio de Janeiro state government tells Around the Rings they have no information about a potential emergency loan from the federal government.

Yesterday, Reuters reported that three states, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, and Rio de Janeiro were in consideration for an emergency loan from the government. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, the loan would be used to ensure that public services facing severe budget cuts would be operational during the 2016 Olympic Games.

The spokesperson could not confirm whether the state had been in talks for a loan, and did not offer any clarification about the current budget crisis the state faces.

Yesterday, Globo reported that State Finance Secretary Julio Bueno was in Brasilia to negotiate with the federal government to release a $287 million loan needed to complete the expansion of metro line 4. Rio de Janeiro must prove to the government it can repay the loan under federal law because the state missed a loan payment to the Inter-American Development Bank last month. Authorities remain confident that the funds will be released, but without the loan the Aug. 1 opening date for the metro may be in danger.

Auditors Share Metro Safety Concerns

The Court of State Auditors (ECA) in Rio de Janeiro says passenger safety has been jeopardized to complete the line 4 metro expansion ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

ECA President Jonas Lopes Carvalho told Globo that it is worrisome that testing on the metro was reduced from 16 months to 60 days to accommodate the Olympic schedule. To prepare the metro for the Olympics Carvalho says that testing should have began in October 2014, with an aim to be completed at the end of January 2016.

"The decision over whether or not to have the subway to the Olympics is political," Carvalho said. "This warning is not to say the authorities have made an error. But we are making a warning to the authorities. What happens if a train breaks down between the tunnels? A contingency plan will be needed."

Carvalho stressed that Olympic and political authorities should formulate a plan if the subway does not function as anticipated.

The Rio de Janeiro department of transportation disagreed with Carvalho’s assessment in a statement saying that, "tests adopted on Line 4 takes into consideration all safety procedures followed since the opening of the subway in 1979."

Metro line 4 is expected to open in limited capacity on Aug. 1 for those with Olympic tickets and credentials. The metro is expected to open in full capacity to the Rio public in the months after the Paralympic Games in September.

Written by Aaron Bauer in Rio de Janeiro

Homepage photo: Getty Images

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