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Rio 2016 issues Brasilia with warning over Olympic football

Organisers of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have warned officials in the country’s capital of Brasília that if they do not sign a contract by the middle of November to host football events during next year’s sporting spectacle, the city will be stripped of its seven scheduled matches.

Rio 2016 earlier this year confirmed the Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasília as one of the venues that will host Olympic football events. However, despite tickets for games in the city having been sale for a number of months, Brasília officials are yet to sign a legal document that will confirm its status as an official host.

According to the Reuters news agency, the contract put forward by Rio 2016 would see Brasília bear the cost of hosting Olympic football matches, with profits going to the organising committee. In theory, this would allow the city to recoup costs through the benefit to the local economy, with businesses such as hotels and restaurants expected to enjoy an increase in footfall.

However, officials in the city are said to be concerned over recouping some of the costs for the Mané Garrincha Stadium, the most expensive of all the venues that were built to host the 2014 Fifa World Cup national team football tournament last summer. The venue is said to have cost more than $800m (€721.8m), with annual running costs amounting to approximately $2.5m.

Brasília is said to be drawing up a management plan in order to host matches during next year’s Games, but has said debts inherited by the city’s previous governor are hampering plans. Brasília is due to host four men's games and three women's matches during the Olympics.

Leila Barros, Brasilia's Sports Secretary, said: “We are doing our homework now to see if we can sign this in time, but it's not certain.”

Helio Doyle, an advisor who has since left his role with the city, said no study had been done to establish if Brasília could recoup the costs of hosting games. City officials are also yet to release an estimate of the total costs of staging matches.

Doyle also said that Rio 2016 would be better off selecting another city to host matches, adding: “The city can't afford to hold the Olympic football games here. It can barely pay its employees.”

The latest news comes after Rio 2016 this month confirmed that the Itaquera Arena in Sao Paulo will still be used to stage football events. The Itaquera Arena, another World Cup venue, in March of this year was announced as Sao Paulo’s venue for Olympic football matches but its status came under threat due to wrangling over work needed to stage events during the Games.

The men’s and women’s football tournaments will be the only events from the Games that will be staged outside of host city Rio. Other stadia include the Olympic Stadium and the Maracanã in Rio, as well as the Amazônia Arena in Manaus, Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova and the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.