Hooper thanks govt for help, retracts criticism | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Hooper thanks govt for help, retracts criticism

delhi Updated: Sep 27, 2010 12:50 IST

After slamming the Indian government for the delay in readying the Games infrastructure, Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Mike Hooper Sunday retracted and thanked the government for helping the organisers.

"I thank the Indian government for the help. I thank the Indian people for the massive investment they have made," Hopper clarified after his remarks on TVNZ that CGF should not share the responsibility for the Games mess.

"It is not a matter of a blame game. There are significant changes in the Games Village. I never gave a clean chit to the Village and I stand by that. The facilities in the international zone are excellent," said Hooper, who praised the Village during its soft launch Sep 16.

Hooper said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. "We see full co-operation from the government."

Earlier, Hooper, who has been staying in the Indian capital for three years to oversee the Games preparations, said CGF cannot be blamed for the present state of affairs.

Hooper's statement is in sharp contrast to the remarks of CGF president Michael Fennell, who a day before said they share collective blame for the lapses.

"We're at the hands and the mercy of, effectively, the government of India, the Delhi government, the agencies responsible for delivery of the venues. They consistently failed to meet deadlines," TVNZ quoted Hooper as saying.

"Now, we were very active, very strong in pushing for this to be done. The actual venues were not handed over effectively - and I say handed over from the point of view of getting venue-completion certificates and occupancy certificates."

He said there was massive work left at the Games Village as far back as in March.
"There were consistently missed deadlines. The government agencies have let everybody down over here as regards meeting those deadlines. But that said we have to make it the best it can be and that's what we're all hoping to do now," said Hooper, against whom the Organising Committee was up in arms a year ago and wanted him removed.

"The frustrating thing is we have consistently spoken out loudly and clearly, consistent in our reporting: "Get these things done. Get these venues delivered. Focus on the operational delivery of the Games."

"And unfortunately, we are where we are. Now, we can all do these post-mortems later. The reality is right now we need to focus on getting as much done as we can do. It is unfortunate that we had to go as public as we did yet again," said Hooper.

The New Zealander said the co-ordination commission visited in May, two months after the chefs de mission had been, they were given the same reassurances.