Head of Olympic organizing committee resigns ahead of Rio 2016

The leader of the Olympic Public Authority, a group responsible for coordinating planning in preparation for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, resigned on Wednesday according to the Associated Press. 

The decision, by Marcio Fortes, confirmed by the organization, inevitably raises doubts about the city’s ability to host the games.

The APO was the logistical liaison between Brazil’s federal, state and local governments, but the group wasn’t responsible for the execution or construction of Olympic-related buildings, which in part, led to the unnerving, massive protests this past summer.

Fortes complained that his organization had lost its influence.

International Olympic Committee officials were set to visit Rio at the end of the month to assess the progress of the Olympic infrastructure, and Fortes’ resignation could be looked at as a possible setback.

A chief operating officer of the local organizing committee recently said that it might need as much as $700 million extra in public money just to operate the games, let alone build the stadiums to host them. The original budget called for around $2.8 billion in operating costs, but according to the officer, $3.5-4 billion is more realistic. 

Brazil is said to be spending as much as $13.3 billion of mostly public money just to stage next summer’s World Cup, and according to the AP, the budget for the 2016 games could exceed that number.  

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