In an exclusive interview to the Hindustan Times, the Commonwealth Games Federation president says the current controversy has tarnished the image of the Games.
Has the on-going controversy adversely affected the image of the Commonwealth Games as a whole?
Allegations of corruption are of major concern to everyone and, when made, they must be investigated by the relevant authorities and where necessary, action taken. The extensive coverage this matter has received does unfortunately tarnish the image of the Games and undermines the tremendous commitment made by a wide range of stakeholders to making the Games a success.
Has it tarnished the image of the Commonwealth Games Federation as well?
Not at all, these allegations are not directed towards the Federation.
Is CGF a party (even in an advisory capacity) to deals that have been secured by management firms that have secured the contracts of overlays?
The CGF has no association or connection with any of the companies appointed to deliver the overlays for the Games.
Will future Games be affected?
The current allegations of corruption are specific to the 2010 Commonwealth Games and I do not believe this will impact future editions of the Games at all.
You were concerned about some questions being raised on the safety of some of the stadiums?
The recent safety concerns stem from the release of a report from the CVC as such. We have asked the OC to secure, by the time of my next scheduled visit to Delhi on August 18th & 19th, a report from each of the government agencies responsible for the delivery of the venues that provides confirmation that all regulatory approvals including fire, health and safety have been secured for each venue, along with a warranty from them that the venues are indeed fit for purpose. This is important given the content of the CVC report, as it will allay any fears as to the safety of the venues.
You had warned India of delays and problems relating to delays almost a year ago. Now, isn't there the fear, especially with the ongoing controversy, that there will be more delays?
The Federation has consistently voiced its concerns over delays, either directly through myself as President, through our CEO Mike Hooper or through our Coordination Commission. It doesn't change anything. We are where we are and all stakeholders need to focus on delivering against the commitments that were made to the athletes of the Commonwealth. There are just under eight weeks to remaining. Everyone needs to focus on completing the preparations to ensure that we will have a successful Games. If that occurs I'm sure we will have a successful Games.
What would be your suggestion to the OC on how they should handle the situation at the moment?
Insofar as the current allegations of corruption are concerned, I believe that the OC is handling the matter appropriately. They have undertaken an internal review and, as a consequence of that, have now invited the Enforcement Directorate to investigate the matter further and to take whatever action it (the ED) deems appropriate.
You're here on the 18th? Are you monitoring the controversy?
I will, along with our CEO, visit all competition venues, the Games Village and the International Broadcasting Centre and Main Press Centre.