Attending an Olympic forum in Sydney, Coates told delegates that
construction had not commenced on some venues, infrastructure was
significantly delayed and water quality was also a major concern two
years out from the Games.
He warned, however, that there was no "plan B" to find another host.
"I think this is a worse situation than Athens," said the
Australian, referring to preparations for the 2004 Games, which were
plagued by construction delays.
"In Athens, we were dealing with one government and some city
responsibilities. Here, there's three.
"There is little co-ordination between the federal, the state
government and the city — which is responsible for a lot of the
"And this is against a city that's got social issues that also have
to be addressed; a country that's also trying to deal with the FIFA
World Cup coming up in a few months.
"It's the worst that I've experienced."
The first Games on the South American continent have been plagued by
delays, rising costs and bad communication between different levels
of the Brazilian government and organizers, prompting criticism from
international sports federations.
Rio's Mayor Eduardo Paes said the city “has to accept the criticism
and work hard.
"We have to work with great zeal and dedication in order to deliver
everything on time," the news site G1 reported him as saying.
Local Games organizers pointed out they were moving in the right
"The time has now passed when general discussions about the progress
of preparations contribute to the journey towards the Games," Rio
2016 said in a statement.
"It is time for us to focus on the work to be done and on engaging
They noted that important decisions were taken recently on the Games
budget and said improved communications between federal, state and
city authorities were reaping benefits. They also urged the IOC to
get behind the city.
"The support of the International Olympic Committee is also
crucial," the statement added.
"We have an historic mission: to organize the first Olympic and
Paralympic Games in Brazil and in South America. We are going to
achieve this. In 2016, Rio will host an excellent Games that will be
delivered absolutely within the agreed timelines and budgets."
The IOC announced a series of measures earlier this month to
kick-start lagging preparations.
"These measures include dedicated joint task forces with the
organizers, recruitment of a local construction manager, creating a
high-level decision-making body bringing together the IOC,
government and all key partners of the project, and more regular
visits by Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli," the IOC
said in a statement.
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"Mr Felli has received a very positive response on the ground in the
past few days, and a number of recent developments show that things
are moving in the right direction.
"Now is a time to look forward to work together and to deliver great
Games for Rio, Brazil and for the world, and not to engage in
discussion of the past.
"We continue to believe that Rio is capable of providing outstanding
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
Brazil has been under the spotlight for the more immediate concern
of the soccer World Cup finals starting in June.
Amid problems with stadium construction, labor unrest and security
in other parts of the country, thousands of troops were deployed to
Rio's slums in February to wrest them back from the control of drug
gangs and criminals.
Coates has made six visits to Rio as a member of the IOC's
Although Rio organizers boasted the same number of staff as London's
two years before the 2012 Games, they lacked experience, Coates
He pointed to only two staff working in the Games' tests department,
though test events were scheduled to start this year.
As Australian Olympic Committee president, Coates also spoke of the
country's sports leaders and team managers "not getting answers" to
any of their questions on visits.
"Can they use the carparks in the village for recovery centers? What
will be the time to take from this venue to this venue?
"All of those things, they're being fobbed off.
"But again, we just have to make it happen — and that's the IOC's
approach. You can't walk away from this.
"If it comes off — the first Games on the South American continent,
in a magical city in so many ways — it'll be a wonderful experience
for the athletes."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom, additional reporting by Andrew Downie,
editing by Amlan Chakrabort, Patrick Johnston, Pritha Sarkar and Toby
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