Commonwealth Games Chief Executive Officer Mike Hooper on Thursday vehemently refuted the charges levelled by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi of being an "impediment" in the preparation of the 2010 Games, saying they are "unwanted, unfair and unjust."
In a move that could incense the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the Organising Committee (OC) of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games Thursday recommended the "repatriation" of Hooper, who is based in Delhi for two years now.
Hooper said that he deplore Kalmadi's comments but remains committed to the work entrusted by CGF of seeing a successful organisation of the Games here.
"I am very disappointed, I deplore Kalmadi's comments. They are unwanted, unfair and unjust. I refute them 100 per cent. I have done nothing but support the Organising Committee," Hooper said.
"When Michael Fennell's (CGF president) letter to the Prime Minister was leaked, the organisers said it was a 'wake-up call' in a press conference. It is disappointing to see that instead of addressing the issue raised, it has been used to launch a personal attack on the CEO of the organisation.
"But I remain steadfast to the responsibility given to me by the CGF. My job is to push for delivery of the work and I am committed to it. I am in touch with my board and I have their backing. I am committed to the issues at hand and I am not interested in making any personal remarks. I continue to be a stakeholder," he said.
Kalmadi had remarked that Hooper's presence has not been beneficial.
"The presence of Michael Hooper has not proved beneficial to the organising committee of the Games," said Kalmadi. "Instead he has only been an impediment in the functioning despite two years in the capital. He's been of no use. We want the Games Federation to replace him."
Hooper said he had no idea that Kalmadi was unhappy with his way of functioning.
"Kalmadi and I have had a normal relationship. We have had a candid chat on various issues pertaining to the Games. But never once has he raised the objection in our meetings."
However, Hooper is optimistic of the Games being a success.
"If you ask me whether India is ready for the Games today, my answer is no. Let us not kid ourselves. We all know a lot needs to be done. Like Fennell said that time is our biggest enemy and every hour counts," he said.
"But I am heartened at the same time by the assurances we got from Sports Minister M S Gill, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to do everything to make the Games successful."
Hooper said the despite OC's objections, the review panel will come up till directed otherwise by the CGF.
"We will be setting up an independent review panel as told by Mr Fennell Monday. It is a group of experts out there to advise and support the Games. It is an opportunity that Mr Kalmadi should grab than resist," he said.