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Brazil Author Opposes Rio Games Role for Blair

February 4th, 2010
Tony Blair

Tony Blair

Brazil’s best-known writer is making it clear he doesn’t want Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair involved in planning for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Paulo Coelho has expressed outrage at proposals to hire Blair as an adviser for the games, sending Twitter messages that called the former British leader a “war criminal” for his involvement in the Iraq war and saying Brazilians should be able to handle planning on their own.

Rio state Gov. Sergio Cabral says Coelho is a fine author, but said Rio can use the organizational skills of a political leader who won the 2012 games for London.

Coelho was part of the Brazilian delegation that successfully lobbied for the 2016 games, beating bids from Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo in October.

Blair’s spokesman, Matthew Doyle, said Tuesday that the former British leader had met with Brazilian representatives, but that no deal had been sealed for Tony Blair Associates to act as an adviser to the 2016 games.

Doyle did not respond to Coelho’s criticism, but said that if a deal is struck, funds would come from private sources, not Brazilian governments.

Coelho has sold 100 million books in 150 countries. He spends much of his time in France, but has a beachside apartment on Rio’s famed Copacabana beach.

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