The Associated Press (AP) reports that a land dispute is threatening construction of the golf course for the 2016 Olympic Games and that if officials have to find a new site the project might possibly not be ready on time for test events in 2015.
Up to now city officials have been dismissing talk of a legal dispute but now, in response to AP, the city said that ‘it just became aware of the situation’ and was ‘evaluating the measures it will take.’
If past and present experience of similar disputes is any guide, the reality is that a final decision on who owns the golf course land could take months or several years.
Writing in his authoritative World Golf Report, Bob Vasilak says, “Can you imagine the embarrassment that will be suffered if it turns out that the site in Barra da Tijuca wasn’t fully secured and that the Olympic organizers will have to request a mulligan? We’re talking about one of the biggest Olympic blunders of all time.
“Gil Hanse, the course’s designer, expects to break ground on the layout in Barra da Tijuca in October. He put on a brave face for the AP but acknowledged, ‘If they decided for whatever reason to make changes, you would have to start all over again. Our design is specifically for that site. You can’t just put it someplace else.’
“Still to be determined, of course, is how serious the threat to the pending construction may be. Call me cynical, but my guess is that the company causing the hubbub, Elmway Participacoes, would drop its claim to the property in exchange for what might be termed ‘cash considerations’.
“If I’m right, checks will be written and by this time next week all this sound and fury may very well signify nothing. But if Elmway Participacoes wants to give a few Olympic officials some sleepless nights, it’s off to an excellent start.”
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