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No Plan B yet for Olympic tournament without Sao Paulo

March 18, 2015

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — There is no Plan B yet for the Olympic football tournament if Sao Paulo drops out as a host city, local organizers said Wednesday.

FIFA this week announced Sao Paulo among six cities hosting matches next year. Local officials said, however, that the city may not be able to stage any games because of the costs involved.

The local Olympic organizing committee said it remains confident a solution will be reached and is not yet considering an alternative plan if Sao Paulo withdraws.

“In a project like this, you run risks all the time, but you always focus on the Plan A,” Rio communications director Mario Andrada said. “The work we are doing is to have Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasilia, Rio and Manaus hosting events for the football tournament.”

A meeting is scheduled for next Monday to discuss the issue. A decision must be made by the end of the month, when fans seeking tickets will be allowed to choose which specific events they want to watch.

The organizing committee said the schedule for the men’s and women’s tournaments are already being prepared with Sao Paulo included as a host city.

“At this point we work with Sao Paulo only,” Andrada said. “If you start having a Plan B, a Plan C, or a Plan D, the negotiations for the Plan A change because people think differently. We think it’s doable in Sao Paulo and Sao Paulo is the best city.”

The city and the state of Sao Paulo have already said they don’t want to spend public funds to stage the tournament. Corinthians, the club which owns the Itaquerao stadium that is set to host the games, said it will not spend anything to adapt its venue for the Olympic tournament.

Local officials said they only received the list of tournament requirements last week, so there hasn’t been enough time to analyze all the costs involved.

“People are trying to announce their position to the media to somehow establish the limits of the negotiations,” Andrada said. “But the goal is for everybody to be in agreement at the end. We are positive that a solution will be reached and Sao Paulo will be at the games. We don’t work with a Plan B yet, we work with a Plan A.”

Also Wednesday, the local committee announced the calendar for 44 test events, beginning in July with volleyball’s World League finals. A November date has been set for the controversial golf course but there was no detailed information on the type of event that will be organized. The course is under construction amid legal battles over land rights and environmental issues.

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