CWG in trouble as England rethinks participation

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first_imgCommonwealth Games plunged into deep trouble today after England admitted their participation is “on a knife-edge” while Scotland athletes delayed their departure to Delhi and Wales set a deadline of Wednesday evening for the organisers to certify all venues and Games Village are safe.A footbridge collapsed near the main venue of the Games yesterday, which injured more than a dozen people, and the desperate state of the Athletes’ Village — described by Commonwealth officials of some countries as “unfit for human habitation” — has cast major doubts over foreign athletes turning up in India.Should the Commonwealth Games be called off? To vote from your mobile, SMS for Yes or for No to 52424.And now the collapse of a small portion of a false ceiling at the weightlifting arena added to the gloom surrounding the event.Commonwealth Games England chairman Sir Andrew Foster admitted that they will have to make a quick decision — within 24 to 48 hours — on whether to take part in the Games.”I think the next 24 to 48 hours is the critical time which will tell us whether the Village — which is where the main problem is now — has got enough accommodation for everybody to come into it. I think we’re at an absolutely vital time (regarding) whether the major teams go,” Foster told BBC Breakfast.”Our staff have been round all 17 sports venues and they are in good order, so the key remaining feature which there’s a problem with is the village. The other problems have been resolved. It’s a situation that hangs on a knife-edge. It is not certain and we will not be sending our team unless we are confident,” he said.advertisementFoster, however, was still hopeful that the Indian government and the organising committee would be able to save the Games even though at this late hour.”The village still has a lot of remedial work needing to be done. But it is the case in India, when building projects are coming to a conclusion, that that is a typical way that things happen and that is quite a big cultural difference.’The safety of the athletes has to be our primary concern. But equally, we cannot just respond to that alone, we have to evaluate the whole thing together and that is what we are doing.’Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman Michael Cavanagh said that the first party of 41 athletes and staff in boxing, rugby sevens and wrestling will now not be travelling tomorrow as planned.”By delaying the arrival of our athletes by a few days, we hope to give the Delhi 2010 Organising Committee the necessary time to address the concerns that have been raised by both the Commonwealth Games Federation and the countries which arrived early,” Cavanagh said.”We have discussed this with the sports involved and are in agreement that this is the best course of action under the circumstances. Whilst this is an untimely alteration to their plans, it will ultimately cause less disruption to their final training and preparation than if they were to arrive in the Games Village which is not yet fit for purpose and fully functional.”Scotland is hugely committed to the Commonwealth Games. Our team on the ground will continue to monitor the situation, however we will not compromise on areas of athlete health, safety and security. We need urgent action from the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Delhi Organising Committee to address these crucial issues,” he said.Wales are also considering their options after giving the Games organising committee a deadline of Wednesday evening to confirm if all venues and the Village are fit for purpose.A Team Wales statement read, “The health and safety of our team has always been our top priority – which is why we’ve been so desperate to resolve the issues in the Games Village.With yesterday’s news of the bridge collapse and now the roof of the weightlifting venue, we have to take a step back and examine how safe it is to bring athletes into this environment.”We have given the Organising Committee a deadline of this evening to confirm if all venues and the Games Village are fit for purpose. On the basis of that announcement, we will be contacting athletes via our team managers and advise them of the latest position and will issue a further update.”Interestingly, despite the scathing criticism from the CGF chief, the Organising Committee said that the matter was not something for which it should be ashamed of.advertisement”It (cleanliness of Games Village) is not such a big issue which we should be ashamed of. This will not affect the Games. For us and for you it is clean. But they (the foreign countries) have a different standard of cleanliness.”It is a matter of difference in perception,” Secretary General of the OC, Lalit Bhanot had said.The build-up to the Games, starting on October 3, have been marred by a series of controversies, including corruption allegations against the organisers, threats of terror attack and dengue fever.The opposition, BJP, meanwhile, asked Prime Minster Manmohan Singh to take a “personal interest” in hosting the Commonwealth Games as the OC , Central and Delhi governments had adopted a “casual and careless approach”.”The Group of Ministers (GOM on CWG), the Government of India and the Delhi government cannot escape from their failures and accountability. The Prime Minister should himself step-in and assure the nation that everything will be done timely and every care will be taken,” senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said.The Congress said all lacunae will be plugged and that the country will hold a successful Games.”We are deeply concerned. If there is culpability and allegations, it will be looked into. But now, we have to show to the world that India can hold a successful Commonwealth Games. All lacunae will be plugged,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.last_img

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