Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Commonwealth Games Federation warns England against pullout

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Mike Fennell has warned that London 2012 will suffer if England do not send at team to Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010. He further went ahead and blamed their concerns on western snobbery.

Amidst conflicting reports regarding England's participation in Delhi Commonwealth Games, last month it was reported that senior Whitehall officials had said there was ‘virtually no chance' of England sending a team to the Commonwealth Games in October because of the security risk in Delhi.

The issue of terrorist threats was sharply brought into view earlier this month after the gunfire attack on the Togo national football team in Angola on the eve of the African Cup of Nations.

The Indian sub-continent has not been immune to such attacks resulting in England feeling forced to withdraw from the World Badminton Championships in Hyderabad, India last year. The decision to pull out of the World Badminton Championships was a major mistake. The tournament was a success. The only people who lost were the athletes who were prevented from participating. Later Badminton England apologized for raising concerns during World Badminton Championships.

Fennell even hinted that problems in India are looked differently than if the same is to occur in certain other countries. There are certain perceptions.

"A country that wants to host an event should think how other people will then view the security risks in their own country. The fact is there is always a security risk.

"Everybody has to make their own decisions but if you don't go I suggest you don't travel anywhere in the world.

While security risks persist in Delhi, preparations for the Games have been tumultuous to say the least. The venues, most notably the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, are reportedly behind schedule with Indian press reporting it would take a miracle for the capital to be ready to stage the Games.

Meanwhile Delhi 2010 organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi called for the head of CGF chief executive Mike Hooper after the New Zealander recommending international aid to speed up the stuttering preparations.

Fennell said: "That was damaging to the extent that certain things that should have been done were delayed because of personality clashes, but we have overcome that now.

"Having a contingency like moving the Games to another country is virtually impossible at such short notice. There would be a huge cost. The plan A and contingency is to get Delhi right and secure enough for all participants and stakeholders.

"We monitor the situation very closely and we can go very late. We've had Games in the past, like the Olympics in Athens, where people were very nervous right up until a month before.

"The Commonwealth Games in Manchester had problems right up to the end but they turned out to be excellent. Organising a multisport Games is a very complex issue. It's all systems go and we want everything signed off by the end of August."

Fennell remained adamant however that the Commonwealth Games would not suffer as much as England would, should they opt against competing.

"The Games would proceed and the bigger blow would be to the English athletes," he added.


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