Academic: Rio will be in debt for 10 years after Olympics

Workers clean seats at the Olympic Tennis Center at the Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo ./ AP
Workers clean seats at the Olympic Tennis Center at the Olympic park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo ./ AP

What sort of shape will a Football World Cup and Olympic Games leave Rio de Janeiro in?

A Swiss academic says the business model needs to change.

Zurich University senior research fellow Christopher Gaffney told Newstalk ZB's Early Edition that Rio will be in debt for the next 10 years following the 2014 World Cup and this month's Olympics.

"The city is decorated for the Games but it's not really fit for the purpose for the people who live here," Gaffney said.

"It's a transfer of wealth programme. It's a very clever business model that Fifa and the IOC have where they find local elites to make exorbitant promises in a global bidding war with other cities and then they are guaranteed financial returns, give them all the privileges they could possibly have, while delivering infrastructure that's not necessarily useful to the locals."

Gaffney said the IOC and FIFA then go away and the locals are left to pick up the bits.

"Some times these bits are really heavy debt burdens and that's certainly what we're going to see in Rio for the next decade as the state tries to crawl out of this debt hole they are in."

The city of Montreal took 30 years to pay off debt from the 1976 Olympics which totalled almost US$1.5 billion.

According to Gaffney holding the Olympics in the same city every time could be a possible solution but says that would entail a much more modest Olympic movement.

- NZ Herald

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