New Delhi: All allegations of corruption against Delhi Commonwealth Games organisers should be probed, CGF chief Mike Fennell said on Thrusday as he wrapped up a two-day inspection of the venues by identifying some areas of concern which need to be addressed immediately.
Fennell said that the CGF has left it on the Indian authorities to investigate the charges of financial irregularities that have rocked the Organising Committee.
After completing a whirlwind tour of the venues, Fennell said he was happy with the overall preparations but wanted the organisers to speed up work on finer details like landscaping and cleaning. He specifically mentioned the work at the Games Village being behind schedule.
“The intention and objective of this visit was to take a further look at the venues. There has been reporting of corruption. It has been of great concern for CGF,” Fennell told a packed press conference .
“From the CGF’s point of views, we have not been associated with any corruption anywhere and we feel it needs to be throughly investigated by the Indian authorities. We have encouraged all government authorities to conduct inquiry,” he said.
Fennell said concerns such as congested traffic and cleanliness are not unique for a city which is hosting a multi-sports event for the first time in decades.
“My visit was to look at all the venues. We have been concerned about some of the venues. We wanted to see how much is complete. I visited all the venues and I am very satisfied to tell you that by and large all venues for practical purposes are complete,” he said.
“There is some remedial work to be done but this is not new for new buildings and this would be completed in some days.
“We are concerned that some detail work has to be done, We went through some detail work and have told the authorities. The outside appearance, landscaping an cleaning of venues will have to done urgently,” he added.
Fennell emphasised the need to spruce up the venues at the earliest, specifically the Games Village which would be thrown open to international athletes by mid-September.
“The image of the Games to the general public would be decided by the look of these venues. When all this is done and the finishing touches are given at all the venues, we will have world class venues here. We will have a rich legacy of venues once the Games are over,” he said.
“I also went to the Games Village, we regard this as the heart of the Games and we have to ensure that the welfare of the athletes is taken care of there. We feel some of the buildings could have been finished much better but they are still very good,” Fennell added.
The CGF boss said hygiene at the Village is a major concern.
“We have seen the dining room, kitchen, shops and other facilities for the Games. The work needs to be accelerated. It is a large amount of work to be done. We will have to make sure that the food served is of the highest standard because the athletes would have to be given the best standard of hygiene,” he explained.
“There is a need to address the roads, the landscape and the cleaning of the village. These need to be addressed with urgency, we don’t have much time left. Buildings alone don’t make the village, it’s the management and the food which will ensure that the village is what we want it to be,” he added.
“We have to ensure hygiene. We would pay special attention to water and have been assured that all this would be taken care of.”
Also in the list of Fennell’s concerns is the scoring equipment which has still not been installed at the Games venues.
“We looked particularly at technology for timing and scoring system which is not yet ready. We want it to be monitored carefully because the equipment is coming from outside, some of it from the Singapore Youth Olympics,” he said.
Having had a tough time negotiating the Delhi traffic himself, Fennell hoped that the promised designated lanes for the athletes would be put in use efficiently.
“We were concerned about transport but we have been reassured by the buses that are available for athletes, technical officials and other officials.
“We continue to be concerned about traffic because the traffic in Delhi is congested. We have been told there would be specific lanes. Hopefully with the cooperation of everybody it will be a win-win situation,” he said.
Fennell gave a thumbs up to the security set-up for the Games and said, “We leave with comfort that the planning of security is top-class. We have the security for Delhi, the Games, operations and venues.”
For a man who had been vocal about his discontent with the arrangements until just a few months ago, Fennell said he leaves relieved this time and even criticised what he called “inaccurate” reports in the media.
“I leave Delhi with reassurance. There is a tremendous amount of detail work to be done but this is not new to Delhi. I have charged the Organising Committee to continue the work and cover the details,” he said.
“We have come to the last lap of a marathon that started six and a half years ago but this last lap is the most difficult.
“We must not give attention to frivolous and inaccurate reports. I end by making a reminder, these Games are Games which will reflect on all of us. So, let us ensure that we report accurately and honestly,” he added.
Fennell said the Games have given India a chance to emerge as a sporting powerhouse.
“I think India has a fantastic opportunity to grow by light years in sports. It is upto you to use these facilities after the Games,” he said.
“This city needed construction because all your venues were 20 years old. But there is one assurance that we will be ready. The concerns are there and they would be there right till the opening ceremony but we just have to ensure that we are on top of it,” he added.