Friday, 19 March 2010

Team Australia struggling to get sponsors

Australia's Commonwealth Games team is struggling to attract sponsorship, with corporate Australia baulking at supporting a Delhi Games that many dread might not occur.

The fear of a terrorist attack, either in the lead-up to the Games or during the 11 days of it, has dogged preparations for the largest sporting event ever in India.

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Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief Perry Crosswhite said only 35 per cent of the $7 million needed to send a large, competitive team to Delhi had been secured from corporate backers. With six months remaining until the Games begin, team officials should already have raised double that amount, and have never had problems doing so with previous Games.

Constant speculation about the event's future and the teething problems experienced by Indian organisers have hurt the push for sponsorship.

"I'm really disappointed at the level of support from corporate Australia." Crosswhite said. "We've always had good support in the past but they have obviously been influenced by what they have heard or read and are worried the Games are not going to go ahead or that they will be a disaster. They will go ahead."

Major backers from previous years who have not signed up for Delhi include Telstra, Commonwealth Bank and Holden. If sufficient funds cannot be raised, the ACGA will be forced to dip into its foundation - a future fund established to invest the profits from the 2006 Melbourne Games.

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