Documents reveal Africa gave 2016 Olympic, Paralympic Games to Brazil

A sign Rio 2016 at the X-Park whitewater rafting venue in Deodoro, Rio de Janeiro, on August 4, 2016, ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / CARL DE SOUZA

New documents released in Brazil have revealed how officials working for Rio 2016 lobbied in Africa in the late stages of their successful bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The documentation, published by the Sportlight Agency following a freedom of information request, outlines that Rio 2016 President, Carlos Nuzman travelled extensively around the continent in the weeks before the final vote at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Copenhagen in October 2009.

A statement was also sent by Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) to Brazilian Embassies in Africa in July highlighting “in the context of the Rio de Janeiro candidacy campaign, the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) plans to carry out a mission together to some African Olympic Committees in the months of July and August”.

An embassy official also received a promise from a Cameroonian official vowing to solicit the support of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) for Rio’s cause.

This was all legal under the rules of the IOC at the time with lobbying and meetings with voting members and those who influence them a normal part of Olympic bidding.

The release of the documentation, however, comes at the time of a French investigation into the alleged paying of bribes by figures connected to Rio 2016 in return for a supportive vote.

According to Le Monde, French police are probing a company linked to Brazilian businessman, Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, which reportedly paid $1.5 million (£1.23 million/€1.42 million) to a firm set-up by Papa Massata Diack, the son of Senegal’s former IOC member and International Association of Athletics Federations President, Lamine Diack.

Documents provided by American tax authorities also showed that Papa Diack transferred $300,000 (£245,000/€284,000) to a Seychelles-based offshore company called Yemli Limited in 2009, through Pamodzi Consulting.

Yemli Limited is linked to IOC member, Frankie Fredericks. The revelations led to the Namibian stepping down as chairman of the IOC Evaluation Commission for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He has also been suspended from the International Association of Athletics Federations Council. Fredericks has denied all wrongdoing.

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