New Delhi: In a damage control exercise, the sports ministry on Friday claimed that the alleged case of aggressive behaviour by one of its unaccredited officials in the Rio Olympic Games was a case of misunderstanding but it has still instructed him to “strictly follow" the rules set by the Organising Committee.
The Indian contingent in Rio has been left embarrassed after the Organising Committee’s continental manager Sarah Paterson threatened to cancel the accreditation of sports minister Vijay Goel for the “aggressive and rude" behaviour of his entourage in a letter to Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta.
However, the ministry, in a statement issued on Friday, denied receiving any such complaint either from the Rio OC or the IOA. “Attention of the ministry of youth affairs & sports has been drawn towards a letter written by an official of Rio Organising Committee to the Chef-de-Mission of Indian Olympic Association regarding entry of an un-accredited Indian Official accompanying the minister into some accredited area. One such official usually accompanies the minister on such visit," the ministry stated. “It is clarified that no formal communication has been received by the ministry of youth affairs and sports either from Rio Organisation Committee or through IOA in this regard," it added.
Insisting that it was a case of misunderstanding caused by the language barrier, the ministry said it has nonetheless told the official concerned to follow the protocol. “Ministry of youth affairs & sports has now been informed by director general, Sports Authority of India camp Rio that the misunderstanding between an Indian Official and official of Rio Organising Committee arose due to language barrier and a very strict security protocol being followed at Rio Olympics which involves frisking and thorough search," the statement read.
“The Indian Official has been advised to strictly follow the rules of Rio Organising Committee and remove any misunderstanding that might have arisen out of tight security protocol," it added. The ministry also sought to clarify that only a three-member delegation has accompanied Goel on the trip. “It is further clarified that from ministry of youth affairs and sports only a delegation size of 3 officials one joint secretary, one director and OSD to MOS (I/C) are in Rio currently."