Rio rescinds contracts for Olympic tennis, equestrian venue

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has rescinded contracts for venues for Olympic tennis and equestrian events for what the city calls "noncompliance to contractual clauses."

Paes annulled the equestrian venue contract on Thursday and the contract for the tennis center on Wednesday.

The city hall says the tennis center, located in the Olympic Park, is 90 percent complete. It did not list a progress report on the equestrian venue, although Paes has complained both projects are moving too slowly.

A spokesman for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic organizing committee said Thursday it was "confident the venues will be finished and delivered as planned."

The Olympics open Aug. 5.

Despite a late start, finishing venues on schedule has not been a problem for the Rio organizers.

South America's first Olympics are, however, beset with other severe challenges including slashing $500 million in expenses to keep the 7.4 billion real ($1.8 billion) operating budget in balance. This has required cutting unpaid volunteers from 70,000 to 50,000, and reducing seating in several venues as Brazil deals with its deepest recession since the 1930s.

"Both the tennis center and the equestrian center have gone through a test event and the works are at an advanced stage," the city said in a statement, which confirmed that new contractors would be hired to complete the projects.

The city hall and the dismissed contractors both said they would take their claims to court.