Wednesday, 29 September 2010

CGF also responsible for issues in Delhi

New Zealander Michael Hopper, in charge of the Commonwealth Games in India, must share the blame for the problems related to the event, New Zealand Sports Minister Murray McCully has said.

McCully said there had been too much finger-pointing at Indian officials. Some of the blame lay with Games Federation chief executive Hooper, The New Zealand Herald Friday quoted McCully as saying.

Hooper has been at the centre of a blame game over shoddy conditions at the athletes' village that at one time threatened to derail the Games. He has defended the federation, saying it had implored Indian officials at every opportunity to be ready for the event.

But McCully said Hooper was partly to blame. 'So we should be careful about simply asserting that Indian officials carry all the responsibility.

'He's been based there to oversee those arrangements. I certainly think there's going to be a sharing of responsibility, but this is not the time. Let them do their jobs and leave the serious questions for afterwards. But they should be asked,' McCully said.

Hooper reportedly had said that Delhi's 'population hazard' hampered the organisation of the Games, sparking protests in the Indian capital. Federation president Mike Fennell denied the remark was made.

Hooper also faced criticism for his luxurious lifestyle while staying in India to oversee the Games preparation. The cost, which include tax breaks of $600,000, a rented accommodation worth more than $36,000 monthly and a chauffeured limousine, was paid by the Games Organising Committee.

McCully, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said Indian pride had been hurt by revelations of poor accommodation for athletes, but the damage could be repaired if the Games, starting Sunday, ran smoothly.

'I've got no doubt there were some raw nerves touched, but serious issues of safety and welfare were arising.'

He said he was confident about security in New Delhi but anyone going there should check the foreign ministry.

'There are always some elements of risk in relation to terrorist activities but we don't have any specific information that should be drawn to people's attention at this point.'


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