Organisers of the 2010 Commonwealth Games on Thursday rejected the CGF’s proposal of an independent monitoring panel to oversee the preparations and demanded the sacking of the event’s CEO, setting the stage for a bitter showdown with the parent body.
Taking a tough stand after coming under a scathing attack for its tardy preparations for the Games, the organisers wanted the removal of the mega-event’s Chief Executive officer Mike Hooper with immediate effect, saying the Kiwi official was “of no use” despite being in the capital for the last two years.
The two major decisions, taken by the Indian Olympic Association at its Executive Committee meeting, has put the organisers on a collision course with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) which has been concerned by the slow pace of work for the October 3-14 Games.
The IOA was against the formation of a technical review panel and in turn recommended the Organising Committee to ask the CGF to strengthen the Co-ordination Commission (CoCom) itself by adding technical experts to it so that the authority of the CoCom is not diluted.
“We don’t want multiplicity of agencies, there are already agencies, including the Co-ordination Commission, who are monitoring the Games preparations. We will suggest the CGF to add technical experts in the Co-ordination Commission instead of forming another body,” IOA President and Games Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi told reporters here on Thursday.
Mike Hooper has not been beneficial to us. He was of no use and has been an impediment to the functioning despite spending two years here. So we have asked the CGF to replace him immediately and in his place send somebody who can be useful to us,” Mr. Kalmadi said.
IOA Secretary-General Randhir Singh expressed astonishment over the CGF’s decision to form a technical panel.
“I am a little surprised, the CGF should have more faith in the Co-ordination Commission because in every big event starting from Olympics to Asian Games, it is the Co-ordination Commission that comes and checks and asks for reports from the Organising Committee,” Mr. Randhir said.
Asked whether the decisions would bring the Organising Committee on a possible confrontation with the CGF, Mr. Kalmadi said, “the question of collision doesn’t arise. We welcome their suggestion. We had great relations with Mr. Fennell and we have consistently informed him about Mr. Hooper’s role.
“We have simply asked for another person in his place because we didn’t have a positive impact from him.”
The IOA also advised the Organising Committee to hire foreign experts only in those areas where it is necessary.
“The IOA welcomes foreign hires in critical areas like technology, catering, overlays, project management and in some sports like Lawn Bowling, Rugby 7s and Netball as it does not have the required expertise.
“But there is strong resentment in sports like shooting, badminton because we are capable enough in these areas. We already showed our expertise by hosting the badminton World Championship this year,” Kalmadi said.
Mr. Randhir said that they have already spent 100 crores in hiring 40 foreign experts for different functional areas.
Expressing satisfaction over the present pace of the preparations, Mr. Kalmadi assured that everything will be put in place as per the Master Games Schedule laid down by the CGF before the Co-ordination Commission’s visit on December 14.
“We are making some addition and substraction in the Organising Committee and things will be OK by December,” he said.
“We are working as a team and I assure you that we will give the best Commonwealth Games ever,” he added.
The IOA’s reaction came just three days after CGF chief Michael Fennell recommended forming of an independent review panel to oversee the Games preparations on monthly basis at the General Assembly of international federation.
After inspecting all the venues and Games village, Fennell expressed satisfaction over the pace of constrcution work of stadia, saying infrastructure was never an issue for him, instead what he is concerned about it operational areas.
Mr. Fennell, however, warned the oraganisers to pull up their socks, saying time was their enemy