CWG 2010: No future beyond

The Commonwealth Games, organized every four years, are the third – largest multi-sport event in the world, after the Olympics and the Asian Games. Since over seventy five years now, this large-scale event has been  conducted smoothly. India has not played host to too many international sporting events; it has never hosted the Commonwealth Games – until now.

New Delhi, India: The venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which are to begin on 3rd October, 2009. But, as past events such as the IPL 3 scam have shown, we Indians rarely ever hesitate to make an extra dishonest buck. It is alleged that hefty sums of money have been siphoned off by the Organizing Committee, headed by Suresh Kalmadi, a MP and member of the Indian National Congress. He is also the President of the Indian Olympic Association. One might, under normal circumstances, wonder if corruption were possible even at such high levels; but in India, when you hear of any such controversies, you know that they are all true – there is no need to wonder.

How did it all start? In March this year, the Organizing Committee of the CWG demanded a VAT refund of £ 14000 for the payments made to a small-time British Company that goes by the name of AM Films. This company was flagged by UK authorities on account of few money transactions that were taking place between the firm and the Organizing Committee. It has been reported that a sum of £ 45000 was wired by the OC to the AM Films account. Also, it has been claimed that the firm was also receiving £ 25000 every month. Of course, AM Films denied all such allegations and maintained that it had received only £ 247000 from the OC. Another clear sign of controversy is that there existed no legal or written contract between CWG and this firm. Ever since, the ball game of allegations and accusations has not stopped.

CWG 2010 has become the most expensive Commonwealth Games, beating the 2006 Melbourne edition by a whopping 500 million dollars – thanks to the avarice tendencies of the members of the Organizing committee. Furthermore, poor management of construction of venues for various events resulted in major delays in meeting deadlines for the safe completion of the game sites.

The most important aspect of this issue is the political paradise that it offers: opposing parties get a juicy opportunity to gain some ground on the Congress – the defaulter. The politicians have got a chance to point fingers at their in-power opponents – quite rightfully, at that. Through this entire process of accusations, refutations, greed and politics, two very crucial consequences have emerged: disrepute for the entire nation and soup for any future prospects.

The CWG story has spread across the world and has, as is evident from the media, brought out the corrupt side of India which was, until now, somewhat confined to the boundaries of the country. The Queen of England herself, enraged by such unhealthy practices related to the Commonwealth Games, has changed her mind and decided not to show up at the Opening ceremony of the games, which is to be held on 3rd October, 2010.

Eventually, these games would have been conducted almost as smoothly as they would have otherwise been if these controversies hadn’t surfaced. But, what about, after the games are over? What about future prospects of bidding to host the Olympics? Well, I’d say that there wouldn’t be such future prospects – Not anytime soon; not after such irresponsible handling of the Commonwealth Games, which is considered second, only to the Olympics.

All of this, at what cost?

Money and Politics, which is almost always the cost of every anomaly.

From what it looks like, Murphy’s Law has struck again: What could have gone wrong, has gone wrong.

Krish Mehta

Image Source: []