With less then a year left for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the ‘war of words’ between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has even the Games stakeholders concerned.
Though the Delhi government did not want to be dragged into the controversy, it did feel that it would have been ideal if the focus were on getting the city ready for the Games.
Asked about the controversy arising from Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi seeking Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper’s repatriation, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said she would not like to comment on the issue. But she said that Delhi should focus on getting the work done.
“We are doing our work but I feel sad. I agree at this point we need to focus on getting the city ready for the Commonwealth Games,” said Dikshit.
Indian Olympic Association, however, has preferred to stay away from the controversy.
“There is no comment. Whatever has been said, has been said,” said an official.
OC chairman Kalmadi, who is also the IOA president, however, played down his outbursts on Friday and said the OC was not confronting the CGF.
“It’s nothing against the CGF. All we want is a replacement for Hooper. With a year to go for the Games, I need the right people here and I cannot be getting into a confrontation with the CEO of CGF,” he said.
“I will ask Mr Fennell to depute someone who can work with us. That is all,” he added.
Even CGF president Michael Fennell had asked the OC to focus on real issues. “With two years to go to the Delhi Games, I said to the OC that time was not their friend. With one year to go, I now say that time is your enemy, but together we can defeat it,” he had said.
OC secretary general Lalit Bhanot, who was seen on TV asking Hooper to leave the premises of the OC on Thursday, said he was just asking him to leave, politely.
“I did not say anything offensive. I just politely asked him to give his version of the story outside the OC premises,” said Bhanot.
Whether Hooper is free to use the OC premises, he said, he could come anytime. “All I was asking him was to brief the media anywhere else in Delhi.”
As to his replacement, he said: “That will be sorted out amicably once we meet the CGF president in London.”