PREPARATIONS: International Olympic Committee evaluation commission head Nawal el-Moutawakel, left, Rio 2016 organising committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman and organising committee CEO Sidney Levy attend a meeting in Rio on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS
PREPARATIONS: International Olympic Committee evaluation commission head Nawal el-Moutawakel, left, Rio 2016 organising committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman and organising committee CEO Sidney Levy attend a meeting in Rio on Wednesday. Picture: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO — The continuing legal dispute over the land for the planned 2016 Olympic golf course was officially flagged by a Rio de Janeiro judge to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday.

The IOC officials were reportedly surprised at their hotel by a court member seeking the president of the co-ordination commission for the 2016 Games, Nawal el-Moutawakel, to sign the order notifying her and the IOC of the dispute. The IOC and 2016 Rio committee have downplayed the issue as golf prepares to make its return to the event for the first time in 110 years.

According to Sergio Antunes Lima, the lawyer of the company claiming ownership of the area where the 2016 Rio committee says the golf course will be built, el-Moutawakel and the other IOC members seemed confused when they were approached by the court official and there was a lot of discussion until lawyers from the 2016 Rio organising committee finally arrived.

Lima, who said he was accompanying the court official, said the Rio 2016 organising committee president, Carlos Nuzman, also arrived later.

The Rio committee, which last year went through the embarrassment of having to fire several employees who illegally downloaded files from British organisers during the 2012 London Games, said it was not involved in the court order and only gave support to the IOC officials as the document presented to them was written in Portuguese and dealt with Brazilian law.

The court document named el-Moutawakel and the IOC’s co-ordination commission, as well as the local Public Olympic Authority.

There has been a long legal dispute over the land, which is claimed by two different companies. Local organisers say they have enough guarantees from the businessman who says he is the current owner, but a judge has already said any contracts made over the land will eventually be deemed illegal and nullified if a court ruling goes against him.

Elmway Participacoes, which has challenged the ownership and claimed the land for several years, has already said it did not plan to build a golf course on the disputed land.

Sapa-AP