Athletes back sport

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The drive to instil a stronger national sport policy in Brazil ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics (and, to a lesser extent the 2014 FIFA World Cup) continues unabated with a group of the country's most well known athletes launching a push to encourage greater and fairer access to sport in schools and municipalities, including a major improvement in Brazil's sporting infrastructure.

Ex–footballer Raí Oliveira, volleyballers Ida and Ana Moser, basketballer Magic Paula and middle distance runner Joaquim Cruz, all part of the not–for–profit group Athletes for Citizenship, met with sport minister Orlando Silva through the week and delivered a statement about the need to 'democratise' sport in public schools and city councils through a revision of the country's National Sport System and significantly increased government investment in the area. Using recent figures compiled in a study of Brazilian municipalities, the group highlighted some quite startling statistics concerning sport in Brazil:– Of Brazil's 140, 867 public schools only 12% have sporting facilities of any type– Only 7. 4% of Brazil's municipalities have public sporting complexes, 67% of these in the south–east part of the country– Sporting competitions exist in 78. 4% of Brazil's municipalities; Amongst these, 95. 5% offer football competitions, 66% Futsal (indoor version of football), 60. 5% volleyball and 43. 6% athletics, with other sports well below these rates. Importantly, the document also listed what the athletes consider as key requirements, including:– guaranteeing the practice of structured sport in all Brazilian schools, with a goal of reaching 100% of schools in 2014 FIFA World Cup host cities by 2014 and 80% of all Brazilian schools by 2016. – increasing and diversifying the types of public sporting equipment available, aiming to double the current average rate of sport participation in the country– integrating high performance and social sport into the educational system – providing added opportunities for professional athletes in terms of higher education and alternative careers Meanwhile, the major renovation of Rio de Janeiro's hallowed Maracanã stadium for the 2014 FIFA World cup has moved a step closer to fruition with the selection of a consortium responsible for the works. The Maracanã Rio 2014 consortium, consisting of Brazilian companies Andrade Gutierrez, Odebrecht and Delta, presented the lowest quote of R$705. 6m, which is 2. 14% less than the cost predicted in the project budget. The second placed tender, by construction giant OAS, came in at R$712m. The total cost of the stadium, which will be the biggest of all 12 Cup hosts at 86, 000 capacity, could rise to R$880m according to the 25% leeway allowed in the project regulations. The renovation is expected to begin within the next month, however matches will continue to be held until the end of the year, with a closing date yet to be set. The finish date for the works remains December 2012. A private operator will eventually be sought on a 35 year concession model. About Simon TarmoA journalist from Sydney, Australia, and co–founder of industry journal Australian Sponsorship News, Simon Tarmo now lives in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Having worked on a range of writing, research and trade projects across a number of industries including sport, entertainment and wine, he is currently focusing on business opportunities involving the 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 in Brazil. With fluent Portuguese language skills, he has an extensive network of contacts throughout Brazil and can advise and assist foreign groups doing business in the country. More details http://simontarmo. blogspot. com/ ~ Simon Tarmo+55 31 9196 0069simon@pando. com. auhttp://simontarmo. blogspot. com/

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