FEI president Ingmar De Vos has told H&H he is “confident” ahead of Rio 2016, despite a number of issues in the run-up to the Games.

Last week the International Olympic Committee hosted a meeting for all 28 international federations and Rio’s organising committee amid concerns surrounding finances — around $500m in expenses must be cut to remain in the $7.4bn Olympic budget.

It was the first time such a gathering has been arranged.

“It was a very good initiative to gather everyone together,” said Ingmar. “It was an important to have an update on where we stand, and to look at specific issues regarding the economy. There is an urgency to reduce costs, but it is important that our athletes — both human and equine — as well as spectators are not negatively impacted by this. We need to find cost-reducing solutions together, not just the organising committee implementing them.

“We have looked at optimising the use of space in offices and lounges to reduce the number of square metres used. It is a work in progress.”

Centro de Hipismo-Cross country course Rio Pic. Renato Sette Camara / City Hall of Rio de Janeiro

Centro de Hipismo-Cross country course Rio
Pic. Renato Sette Camara / City Hall of Rio de Janeiro

Last month (21 January) Rio’s city government terminated an agreement to build the equestrian venue due to reported “noncompliance with contractual clauses”.

The contractor, IBEG Engenharia e Construções, was fined around $2.5m for contract breaches.
The equestrian centre is estimated at costing around $38m.

“I took the liberty to raise the point that we are becoming worried about the delivery of the building work on time — we need action. However, we have been assured that a new construction company has been confirmed and that the organisers are confident it will be ready in time.”


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He added that there is “always stress” ahead of an Olympics, but that the mood at the meeting was “positive”.

When questioned on the Zika virus Ingmar added that the IOC had assured them that everything possible was being done to avoid the virus spreading.

“At the Deodoro site we do have some standing water, which is more of a problem with mosquitos, but August is Brazil’s winter, so the mosquito population should be reduced,” he added. “I haven’t heard any concerns from athletes about attendance.”