UK & World News

  • 10 May 2014, 16:33

Olympic Chiefs On 'Rio Games To London' Claim

Olympic bosses have been forced to deny claims London has been approached about hosting the 2016 Games instead of Rio because of major delays in preparations.

The Evening Standard newspaper said officials in the capital, which hosted the event in 2012, had been "secretly asked" whether they would be able to take over from Rio in the event building work was not finished in time.

It comes after John Coates, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, described Brazil's preparations as"the worst I have experienced" and said Rio is further behind than Athens was before the 2004 Olympics.

However, at a meeting of the Australian Olympic Committee in Sydney, Mr Coatessaid claims London could step in were "nonsense".

"There's absolutely no plan B," he said. "There's just absolutely no alternative of going back to another city. We'll work through this and we'll get to Brazil."

With two years to go before South America's first ever Olympic Games, Rio has come under increasing scrutiny over severe delays.

Last week, Mr Coates highlighted delays in construction and a lack of infrastructure, as well as the quality of the water in Guanabara Bay where many of the water events are due to be held, and said the "situation is critical on the ground".

Brazil has also come under fierce criticism from football's world governing body, FIFA, over long delays and worker deaths during construction of stadiums for the World Cup, which starts in June.

The Evening Standard report suggested London could share events with Glasgow, which is hosting the Commonwealth Games in July.

However, moving the Games to Britain would involve huge logistical and financial challenges.

Many of the venues from the 2012 Olympics have been dismantled or converted for public use.

The Olympic Stadium is currently being revamped into a smaller venue that will be the new home of West Ham football club from the 2016-17 season.

The athletes' village, which housed more than 10,000 competitors in 2012, has been converted into private housing.

The London Games were widely lauded as a triumph for their organisation, including the opening ceremony, and athletic success, with Britain netting its biggest Olympic medal haul.