Hooper stays in Delhi, monitoring panel put on hold

Hooper stays in Delhi, monitoring panel put on hold


Left to Right: Suresh Kalmadi, Michael Fennell, Mike Hooper

After weeks of acrimony over organisational matters, the Indian organisers and the Commonwealth Games Federation today tried to do a balancing act and pledged to work together for the success of the Delhi Games.

A marathon peace meeting between Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Michael Fennell and Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi ended with a carefully worded joint statement being issued, which largely spoke of the need to focus on the functional areas that are essential for the success of the sporting extravaganza.

Although the joint statement did not specify what decisions the two had taken during the much-awaited meeting, sources in the Organising Committee said that CGF CEO Mike Hooper will continue to remain in New Delhi to oversee the preparations of the Games.

But the proposal to form an independent monitoring panel to oversee the preparations of the October 3-14 Games has been put on hold for the time being.

The Organising Committee had rejected the proposal and the development to put it on hold is seen as a reconciliation on the part of the CGF, the parent body of the Games.

"It is agreed that there have been misunderstandings and unfortunate media statements and reports that have created a regrettable set of circumstances," the joint statement, aimed at making a public show of unity, said.

"However, we feel that is critical that our attention is focussed entirely on those functional areas that are essential to the successful celebration of the Games in 2010 and no useful purpose would be served by spending precious time on those issues and we will put this behind us," the joint statement issued by Fennell and Kalmadi said.

"We have agreed that we will continue to work together as partners, fully recognising and respecting our individual roles and ensuring that our attention is not diverted from meeting all the targets that have been agreed upon."
The meeting of the two top officials took place immediately after the Queen's Baton relay and was initiated by India's Sport Minister M S Gill.
While the OC had sought Hooper's transfer out of Delhi calling him "useless" and an "impediment" in the smooth functioning of the Organising Committee, Kalmadi is learnt to have taken a much more softer stand in his meeting with Fennell.

Hooper and Kalmadi were engaged in a bitter public spat barely a few days after the CGF's General Assembly in Delhi early this month.
A final decision on whether to go ahead with the monitoring panel would be taken only after the Coordination Commission's visit to Delhi from December 14.
"We also met with office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association present in London and the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Hon'ble Dr M S Gill and informed them of our understanding and all agreed that we must now move forward with the sole objective of guaranteeing the successful celebration of the 2010 Games in Delhi," the statement said.

"The next step will be the visit of the CGF Co-ordination Commission commencing December 14 and they will evaluate the progress to date and the achievement of the targets promised by the Organising Committee. The results of this review will be further considered and appropriate action agreed by all parties.
"It was also agreed that no further comment would be made by the parties concerned," it added.
The sources said both Kalmadi and Fennell wrote separate letters on reaching an understanding on some of the disputes and handed them over to Sport Minister Gill.
The Commonwealth Games have been plagued by a series of controversies, which mainly started after Fennell wrote a letter to the Organising Committee on the "tardy" preparations for the Games and sought a meeting with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek his intervention.

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