RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — The Paralympics will go ahead in Rio next month, but organizers said Friday that deep budget cuts mean a venue will close, facilities will be dismantled and the workforce will be reduced.
Poor ticket sales have compounded financial challenges in recession-battered Brazil that have impacted operations at the Olympics, which close Sunday. Rio organizers reported ticket sales of just over 290,000 for the Sept. 7-18 Paralympics. The International Paralympic Committee said it had sought to reduce costs over the past year and the new, deeper "major budget cuts" will affect every team and visitors to the Games.
"Never before in the 56-year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this," IPC president Philip Craven said.
The IPC has secured an additional $47 million in funding from Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and said the government will bring in up to $31 million of sponsorship from state-run companies. Grants of more than $7 million that Rio organizers were due to make to the 165 participating countries are almost a month overdue. "Currently we have around 10 countries who, even if the grants are paid, may struggle to cover the cost of their travel to the Games," Craven said.
Ticket scalping case: European Olympic head Patrick Hickey of Ireland is in a Brazilian prison after his arrest in a ticket-scalping scandal, authorities said. The 71-year-old International Olympic Committee executive was denied bail after his legal team argued unsuccessfully that he was being detained illegally after his arrest Wednesday at his hotel. He is facing charges of conspiracy, ticket scalping and ambush marketing after Brazilian authorities accused him of being part of a plot to make $3 million by illegally selling Games tickets above face value. Hickey's Brazilian lawyers did not respond to an Associated Press email seeking comment.