Alastair Fox, the head of competitions for the governing body ISAF, said sailing officials had become “frustrated with it all” after seeing little done to clean the bay of raw sewage and floating debris.

“If we have to race all the races outside the bay, if that's what it comes to, to ensure a fair regatta, then that's something we're going to explore and could do,” Fox said in a telephone interview.

Fox said two sailing courses located just outside the bay in the open Atlantic ” and a third being planned there ” could be used for all races. Three other courses have been planned inside the bay, but may not be used.

Fox said the ISAF had asked the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee to pressure Brazilian politicians. He said the local organizing committee was not at fault, putting the blame on the government.