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Utility bills dispute leaves power switched off at Rio Olympic stadium

The stadium earmarked to host track and field athletics during the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is at the centre of a dispute over unpaid energy bills that has left the facility without power.

Rio-based football club Botafogo and the local city hall have blamed each other for the unpaid bills, according to the Associated Press news agency. The local authority has claimed that Botafogo has been responsible for the utility bills since May 2015, but the club has insisted that the city government owes it money for water and electricity bills.

The Globo Esporte news website said that the unpaid bills total R1m (€231,000/$250,000), with the electricity having been off since last week and the water having been cut off more than a month ago.

The stadium opened for the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio, and its capacity of 45,000 is being increased temporarily to 60,000 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The stadium reopened last year after closing in March 2013 due to fears about the safety of the venue’s roof.

The organising committee of the Rio 2016 Olympics said that it expects the stadium to be ready to host a test event in May.

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