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Soccer great Pele to play no role at Rio Olympics 2016 closing ceremony

Pele, 75, underwent hip surgery at the end of last year and has said his rehabilitation has been difficult.

Last Updated: Friday, August 19, 2016 - 22:25
Soccer great Pele to play no role at Rio Olympics 2016 closing ceremony

Rio de Janeiro: Pele will not appear at the Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday, organisers said on Friday, meaning Brazil`s most famous sportsman has played no formal part in the Games.

The soccer great, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, turned down an offer to appear as the final torchbearer at the Games` opening party on Aug. 5, citing a health problem.

"Pele is not going to take part in the closing ceremony," Abel Gomes, executive producer of the ceremonies, told reporters.

Pele, 75, underwent hip surgery at the end of last year and has said his rehabilitation has been difficult.

Games organisers said they had not been in contact with him since earlier this month when he turned down the invite to light the cauldron.

"We have not got in touch with him or he in touch with us since the opening," Games spokesman Mario Andrada said. "But if he wants to be there it will be our pleasure."

Pele caused some confusion before the start of the Olympics, revealing that he had been asked to light the cauldron, but adding that he needed to consult some commercial sponsors on whether he contractually would be able to do that.

Organisers had kept light-tipped about the details of the ceremony but after the opening confirmed he had been due to light the flame in the stadium.

Reuters
First Published: Friday, August 19, 2016 - 22:25

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