Bill would limit FIFA, IOC power in Brazil
SAO PAULO -- Brazilian lawmakers plan to limit the powers of FIFA and IOC over projects related to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
In legislation aimed at reducing the bureaucracy for infrastructure work for both events, a clause was removed that allowed FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to request project changes without cost limits to the Brazilian government.
It was approved late Tuesday by the lower house of Congress. The bill also added an element of transparency after critics had complained that details on future bidding processes did not have to be made available to the public.
The bill -- an addition to the current law on bidding processes -- will go before the Senate, which is likely to approve it. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has said she will immediately sign it into law.
"The goal was to make the text more clear, to show that no superpowers were given to an international body," Brazil Sports Minister Orlando Silva said on his radio program on Wednesday. "But Brazil will fulfill all requirements made by FIFA and will abide to their recommendations."
There had been widespread criticism after the legislation was initially approved by the lower house a few weeks ago, with local media and watchdog groups saying the changes could open the door for misuse of public money and overspending.
Supporters argued that without the measure it would be difficult to finish all the work in time for the World Cup and the Olympics because the bidding law was inefficient in several areas, especially when considering the challenges of hosting the world's top sporting events.
The new text guarantees that the bidding processes will be properly monitored and that all details will be open to the public.
"The changes were made so there is no doubt that there won't be any restrictions," Silva said. "The restrictions are only for the companies involved in the bidding."
The bill is intended to reduce the time needed to set up and conclude bidding processes, eliminating some of its stages and some requirements necessary for approval.
The measure also approved the creation of an aviation secretariat to oversee the country's civil aviation agency and the nation's airport authority. Government officials have acknowledged that the lack of adequate airport infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges Brazil is facing ahead of the World Cup and the Rio Olympics.
Stadium construction is also a problem, but Silva said the government is engaged with the host cities to try to expedite work. The minister urged Sao Paulo legislators to quickly approve a tax break that would help fund the stadium in South America's biggest city. Sao Paulo wants to host the World Cup's opening match but hasn't started building its venue.
"There is no plan B for Sao Paulo," Silva said. "The city is running the risk of delivering the stadium only in 2014, which is complicated."
Sao Paulo has already been ruled out of the Confederations Cup in 2013, along with the northeastern city of Natal.
Brazil is hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1950, and the games in Rio will be the first in South America.
Also Tuesday, Rio mayor Eduardo Paes made official the creation of the Olympic Municipal Company, which will handle the projects related to the 2016 Games.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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