It took the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) two years to realise the ‘uselessness’ of Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive officer Mike Hooper.
OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi told reporters on Thursday that he had written to CGF chief Mike Fennell, asking him to recall Hooper, as he had become an impediment to the OC’s functioning.
OC officials said that when Hooper was flown to Delhi in 2007, he was given the specific mandate of assisting OC in all areas of the Games, and provide knowledge transfer for a successful Games.
“He was to act as an interface between CGF and OC. But in the two years that he was here, the only role he performed was to misrepresent facts to CGF chief Michael Fennell. Hooper was the one who recommended hiring foreign consultants,” said a senior OC official, who did not want to be quoted, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The OC was spending Rs 12 lakh a month on Hooper’s accommodation and travel.
But wasn’t the decision to repatriate Hooper a bit too late?
OC officials insisted it had nothing to do with Fennell’s strong criticism on Monday. “The complaints against Hooper were growing by the day, He was very rude. He had misbehaved with a number of OC staff in the last one year,” said the official.
Hindustan Times has a copy of the July 31 letter that Kalmadi wrote to Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell complaining about Hooper's behaviour.
Malhotra backs Kalmadi across party divide
It was a rare sight where two politicians from rival parties came on a common platform to defend the Organising Committee’s interests.
On Thursday, senior Indian Olympic Association (IOA) member and BJP legislator Vijay Kumar Malhotra endorsed Congress MP and IOA president Suresh Kalmadi’s view that there was no need to hire as many foreign experts as recommended by the Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell.
“This is the Commo-nwealth and not the Imperial Games. It is wrong to assume that only foreigners are capable and we do not have the expertise. This is not acceptable. Whenever a Third World country hosts a big Games, these people from outside start interfering, which is not necessary,” Malhotra said.
“There are deficiencies on our part. Some projects are also running behind schedule. But the Games works are being monitored at the top level, including the Prime Minister. As it is, there is such a stringent monitoring. We don't need any further monitoring from outside.”
Rs 827 crore for Games
The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure on Thursday approved expenditure of Rs 827 crore on the development of the Commonwealth Games Village and several competition venues.
The Delhi Development Authority has been entrusted with the development of Games Village and competition venues for badminton, squash, table tennis and archery (preliminary).
It has also been entrusted with the development of training venues for events like badminton, swimming, lawn bowls, hockey, athletics, wrestling and weightlifting.
An official spokesman said Thursday’s approval would cover development of the competition venues at Yamuna and Siri Fort Complexes and upgradation of facilities at the sports complex in Saket, south Delhi also.