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Rio has no time to lose says Brazil-bound IOC boss

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends a news conference at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne December 10, 2013.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach attends a news conference at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne December 10, 2013.

By Karolos Grohmann

LAUSANNE, Swtizerland (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics have no time to lose with the International Olympic Committee president flying into the country in the coming weeks to monitor progress, the IOC said on Tuesday.

"We have to realize that there is not a single moment to lose, that every effort has to be made every day to bring the construction of Olympic sites and infrastructure forward," said IOC president Thomas Bach.

Rio Games Organizers have been repeatedly urged to speed up progress as the country struggles to prepare for the world's two biggest sports events - the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Bach said he was planning to visit Brazil before February and would meet Brazil President Dilma Rousseff to help improve work between the government and Organizers.

"What will be essential and crucial for the success of Rio will be a seamless cooperation and coordination among different levels of government and the organizing committee," Bach told reporters.

"To ensure this I will most likely travel with the (IOC) delegation to Rio and Brasilia even before the Sochi Games (in February) to speak with the president of Brazil and speak with other levels of government and the organizing committee in such a way to ensure this... because this is definitely needed to have successful Games and to meet the schedules."

With the country already struggling to meet deadlines for next year's World Cup, Games Organizers have yet to finalize the overall budget less than three years before the event while also dropping behind in constructing the venues.

Bach said the IOC's Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli, who is retiring in August, will only deal with Rio progress after the Sochi Olympics and will continue to do so even after his retirement in an effort to speed up work.

"We have had a request on behalf of the Rio organizing committee to put Mr Felli at the disposal of the organizing committee," said Bach.

"After Sochi Mr Felli's top priority will be close cooperation with the Rio organizing committee and even after his retirement at the end of August he will continue to work closely with Rio 2016."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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