Rio journalists are kept waiting for their Olympic fees

Hundreds of professional sports journalists, many of them members of the SJA, were still waiting for payment for a month or more’s work in Rio for the Olympic News Service more than eight weeks after the flame was extinguished in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio 2016 Olympic logoSome journalists are owed up to £5,000 for their time working in Brazil on the build-up to and throughout the Olympic Games, over the course of six to eight weeks.

Sports journalists hired by international or national sports federations have tended not to be affected by the slow payments, caused by the Rio 2016 organisers’ financial crisis and delays in funding being recieved from national and city authorities.

Rio organisers were forced to scale back some elements of the 2016 Paralympics in September because of shortfalls in funding.

The organisers are promising to honour their debts to ONS workers by the end of 2016, though the delays in paying the ONS staff has caused considerable problems for some individuals.

A month-long strike in the Brazilian banking sector, which ended in early October, has offered a convenient scapegoat for the Rio Games organisers.

“There is no question that everybody will get paid,” Mario Andrada, the Rio 2016 director of communications, said. “There is no chance in the universe that they will not.”

“There is no question that everybody will get paid. There is no chance in the universe that they will not.”

The Rio 2016 organisers have denied reports that they are facing insolvency, leaving hundreds of unpaid staff facing the possibility that they will go unpaid.

In a letter sent to ONS workers earlier in the month, journalists were told that payments would begin to be processed on October 14, a week after the conclusion of the strike. More than a week later, however, and several ONS workers reported that they were still awaiting a payment.

“I think this is totally not acceptable but unfortunately I find myself unable to do anything but fight for all of you – and you can be sure I will keep fighting,” a senior Rio 2016 official wrote in the letter.