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WCup organizers cancel event after fire tragedy

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm •  Published: January 27, 2013

The 2016 Rio organizing committee said it "deeply lamented the tragedy in Santa Maria."

"Rio 2016 expresses solidarity with the families and friends of the victims of this tragedy," it said in a statement. "It wishes a quick recovery to those affected."

The International Olympic Committee said that "we simply send our sympathies to friends and families."

With the World Cup kicking off in less than 17 months, incidents like the tragedy in Santa Maria draw extra scrutiny on hosts' preparedness for major sports events and the expected influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Hosting the World Cup and Olympics back-to-back has already heightened attention on security and crime issues in Brazil — although the discussion has so far mainly focused on areas related to violence at games and ongoing efforts by police to take control of favelas, or shantytowns, from drug gangs.

South Africa's relatively high rates of violent crime were similarly scrutinized before the 2010 World Cup, but that tournament was held without major incident.

Even London faced questions about its preparedness for the 2012 Olympics after riots in the neighborhood of Tottenham, just a few kilometers (miles) from the main Olympic stadium, one year before the Summer Games were set to start.

Because of the tragedy, the Rio Grande do Sul state football federation canceled all Sunday matches in its first-division regional championship. And there was a minute of silence honoring the victims before matches across the country.


AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva and AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Rustenburg, South Africa, contributed to this report.