By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Spectators going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have not only endured extended lines to get in to the stadiums but found that once inside food was scarce. Due to the problems, Rio’s consumer protection agency, PROCON-RJ, announced on Sunday it was fining the Olympic Organizing Committee for the long waits and infrastructure problems. The fines can total up to R$9 million.
“Despite the size of the event size and the number of people it would attract, the organizers did not bother to meet consumer demand, both on access to the venues and in regards to food supply. The fans paid to watch entire matches and ended hampered by problems of access to arenas,” stated the PROCON-RJ in its webpage.
According to the entity, there were reports of food supply running out at points of sale before the end of the events at the Barra and Deodoro stadiums.
Local TV stations showed consumers, after waiting in line for more than one hour to purchase food tickets would wait another hour to pick up their order. Some say that by the time they arrived at the front of the line, the item they had purchased had already been sold out.
Norwegian expatriate in Rio working at PUC university, Anis A. Ayati, went to some early football (soccer) matches at the Olympic Stadium (João Havelange, also known as Engenho) before the August 5th Opening ceremony. He explained, “I was lucky enough to go with [a Carioca friend] who knew that there were several entrances. Without him, I would probably have been standing in the huge line that first met us as we came out of the train.”
As far as problems with food services, Ayati described that early on, “It was quite easy to get food; stadium food such as hot dogs, hamburgers etc., before the stadium filled up.” Then added that later, “Some of the smaller kiosks ran out of popcorn and beer. The bigger ones still had food, but the lines were enormous.”
The entity also was asking for solutions from the Organizing Committee for the long lines to get into the venues. PROCON-RJ reported that in the Olympic Park at Deodoro on Saturday there was only one X-ray machine for inspection of fans, which delayed their entry and on Sunday spectators took two hours to enter the Rugby Arena.
According to PROCON-RJ now the Olympics organizing committee has fifteen business days to submit their defense.