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Everyone has to share the blame for CWG mess: Fennell

CGF President Mike Fennell today said that everyone in the Commonwealth Games management has to share the blame for the lack of preparations ahead of the Delhi edition but hoped that they would overcome the problems in the next eight days for the successful conduct of the event.

delhi Updated: Sep 25, 2010 12:01 IST

CGF President Mike Fennell on Saturday said that everyone in the Commonwealth Games management has to share the blame for the lack of preparations ahead of the Delhi edition but hoped that they would overcome the problems in the next eight days for the successful conduct of the event.

Addressing a press conference a day after visiting the Games Village, Fennell said "considerable work has been done but still some more remains to be done."

But despite the controversy-marred build-up, Fennell asserted that calling off the Games "was never" on Commonwealth Games Federation's (CGF) agenda.

However, Fennell conceded that a lot of damage has been done to India's image. Flanked by embattled Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, Fennell said both India and the Commonwealth can learn a lesson from the shortcomings in organising the 19th edition of the Games scheduled October 3 to 14.

"The massive work that is being done now ought to have been done earlier," said Fennell.

"We all have to share the blame and responsibility. In any Games, there are a number of stakeholders, overall we have to ensure that we do everything to conduct the Games.

"Other Games have had problems and I believe that here also the problems would be sorted. A number of issues should have been and could have been avoided and that necessary corrective steps should be taken in good time," he added.

"We are going to have good Games," he insisted.

"A lot of damage has been done to India, which is the largest Commonwealth country. We need to learn lessons for hosting other events as well. This is part of the learning process. I hope India would have learnt a lesson, we would have learnt a lesson," he said.

Asked whether he felt let down by India, which won the hosting rights way back in 2003 but is in a desperate race against time to finish off the work, Fennell said, "We are disappointed in a number of things."

But the CGF boss said the time for blame-game was over and the focus should now be on conducting a safe and successful Games whatever be the scale of effort required.

"If we are committed to the same goal, we should not find faults and criticise each other because we all want that the Games are celebrated properly," he said.

His back against the wall, a defensive Kalmadi said he wished the venues had been handed to OC a little earlier.

"I am the chairman of Organising Committee and I will take all the responsibility but I wish venues were handed to us a little earlier," he said.

Both Kalmadi and Fennell had to face a barrage of uncomfortable questions on India's under-preparedness and the OC chief, in particular, came in for extensive grilling by both the Indian and international media.

Despite Fennell's assertion that there has to be collective responsibility for the current crisis, Kalmadi insisted that the CGF boss did not mean to blame the OC.

"I don't think he has pointed the finger at the Organising Committee. The developer has to hand the venues over to OC and then it is our responsibility. As far as the Games Village is concerned, 18 towers were handed to us and we completed the work on time. The rest 18 were handed over late and that is where the problem is," he explained.

"As far as the security goes, we have been having meetings for the last couple of years. The home ministry and Lt Governer have been taking constant meetings. We have had a CGF adviser who has come every second month.

"The international chefs de mission have also found the security to be fine. The Jama Masjid (shootout) incident is not related to the Games. These are minor issues, blown out of proportion," he said.

However, Kalmadi did admit that there were shortcomings in the preparations but assured that they would be rectified in the next couple of days.

"There were deficiencies and in another couple of days we will finish all the work. We have some issues in the Games Village but I think it is a fine Village. Only that some blocks have to be cleaned up. But all the infrastructure is good. The Games are going to be good. We are doing everything possible to your satisfaction.

"I can assure you that our aim is to host a good Games. Our aim is to do as good as Melbourne," he said.

Speaking about the Village, which was dubbed "filthy and uninhabitable" by international delegates a few days ago, Fennell reiterated that considerable improvements have been made.

"Matters relating to transport, security and evacuation of buildings. The technology difficulties like wi-fi service. Medical services and generally speaking all the matters that relate to living in the Village are being worked out.

"Following the action that has been taken by the government to ensure that the remedial work is done, I am very pleased to receive the news that the countries who were not convinced, have instructed their teams to travel to Delhi," he added.

Fennell said while the work continues at the residential blocks, the international zone has turned out be brilliant.

"On a happy note, the international zone has been completed and it is in very good condition and is an excellent international zone. The dining room and kitchen are excellent. The food is good, we had a meal there and it was excellent," he said.

First Published: Sep 25, 2010 11:59 IST