New Delhi: Piling on the embarrassment for the organisers, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper on Tuesday termed the Athletes Village as “filthy and uninhabitable” but hoped that with Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell’s intervention, the mess would be sorted out in the next two days.
“Predominantly the issue is of cleanliness of the towers in the residential zone. The matter came to our attention when we paid a preliminary visit to the Games Village on 15 September along with some representatives of the advanced parties of Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA),” Hooper told reporters at a press conference.
“Ever since 15 September, we along with CGAs met on daily basis. We also held meetings with OC officials and emphasised the importance of addressing the issue of cleanliness of the Village, which I have to say in many towers are filthy and uninhabitable as stated by Mr Fennel,” he added.
Hooper’s comments came after an advanced party from New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland raised serious concerns regarding the hygiene in the residential zone of the Games Village.
No sooner it came to light, CGF president Fennell came out with a strongly-worded statement, wherein he criticized the Organising Committee for the mess and said he had written to the cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, expressing his concerns about the athletes accommodation.
Hooper, however, hoped that with Fennell’s intervention the matter would be resolved at the earliest.
“As a consequence of that, I informed the matter to Mr Fennel and he took up the matter with higher authorities in India. Basically, we needed to elevate this matter further to ensure the athletes get what they deserve, which is a Village that provides them the best-possible environment to prepare for the Games,” he said.
“Hopefully, with Mr Fennell’s intervention, asking for direct intervention from the Indian government, the problem will be fixed. Hopefully, we will see some significant action and progress in the next two days.
“(OC chairman) Mr (Suresh) Kalmadi told me the cabinet secretary was at the Village this morning. It shows that clearly he has taken the matter extremely seriously,” Hooper added.
With just 12 days to go for the 3-14 October mega-event, the CGF CEO said the incident did not come as a positive advertisement for the Games, the countdown to which has been marred by corruption allegations and construction delays.
“It would be fair to say that we are extremely disappointed to find ourselves in the situation we are in right now with only two days before the athletes start arriving,” Hooper said.
“We were given promises that these would be remedied by September 19. It is fair to say that there was some progress but it is certainly insufficient to satisfy the majority of CGAs who are currently here.”
Hooper also said the CGF stands by its statement that the international zone of the Village, which was soft launched last week, is of world class standard.
“I stand by my statement that the international zone is fantastic. It has got a lot of accolades from different CGA members.
“But what we said in relation to the Village was that it has the potential to be the best Village we ever had,” he added.