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Last-minute dash to replace SMAM?

india Updated: Aug 18, 2010 22:45 IST
Siddhanth Aney
Siddhanth Aney
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Have the lessons from the controversies raging around the Commonwealth Games been learnt? That is the question on the minds of many Indians as the Games draw nearer. The answer may not be a pleasing one.

One of the key issues — whether it was for the Queen's Baton Relay and the contract awarded to AM Films UK or the appointment and subsequent dismissal of Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM) — is if or not proper procedures have been followed.

SMAM was given a multi-crore contract for raising sponsorship and providing sponsor services. Since the termination, many companies have contacted the Organising Committee, expressing their interest.

According to information with HT, at least one company, involved in talks with the OC on sponsor services, has decided to pull out because it felt proper tendering processes were not being followed. The company said it was told by OC officials to provide a quotation over the phone without even getting into specifics of the services.

In a letter addressed to Neel Chatterjee, officer on special duty (revenue and communications), the company wrote, "Given that there does not seem to be any process (including the absence of the formal RFP or Tender or a proper definition of scope of services), we are not comfortable in participating in this ad-hoc process which does not seem to be transparent and in the best interest of the CWG."

Speaking to HT, Chatterjee said, "Finding a replacement for SMAM is under consideration. The companies came to us after hearing the news. That is why there is no RFP or tender."

When asked if it was wise to meet companies without putting down anything on paper, Chatterjee said, "Nothing has been decided. We are only meeting them to discuss what they are offering and what we need. We have not gone to the market looking for anyone."

However, Chatterjee admitted that as time was short, there might not be a tender. "The sponsorship committee and the executive board will decide on the matter soon." AK Mattoo, OC treasurer, said, "I don't want to comment. The situation is one where karo to maro, na karo to maro (If we do it we get hanged, if we don't, we'll still be hanged). We are trying to evaluate the best way forward, and will close on this soon."

SMAM denies EKS link

PTI adds: SMAM denied any business interests with EKS, a consultancy firm hired for the event. "Craig McLatchey holds no business interests or voting or controlling rights in SMAM or in any other company owned by Michael Bushell," SMAM said in a statement.