Rio 2016 organising committee denied claims that patronage of João Havelange may have negative influence on the image of their event. Before closing ceremony in London they claimed no name change is needed.
Instead talking about organizing and infrastructure challenges, future Olympic hosts were given some tough questions about their sport legend João Havelange during their London press conference.
Controversy over the name of Estádio Olímpico João Havelange started several weeks ago, when Swiss Supreme Court published documents proving Havelange guilty of bribery. Campaigns to change the name were launched in Brazil, but Rio 2016 organizers have been refraining from commenting on the issue.
They couldn’t any more, when approached in London. “We are very proud of what Havelange has done worldwide and for sport in Brazil in particular,” said Leonardo Gryner, Rio 2016 chief executive officer.
“As far as I know, he did wrong and was punished, so he paid for that. I am still very comfortable. He is a great legend in our sport.”
“I don’t think that naming a stadium after Joao Havelange will damage the Games in Rio,” Gryner added. “The organising committee does not name stadia. We just use the stadia that are named by the owners of the stadium, which in this case is the city, so it is not up to us to change the name.”