Tuesday 24 October 2017

Organisers deserve 'woof' justice over Games shame

Eamonn Sweeney

The forthcoming Commonwealth Games, slated to begin in New Delhi on October 3, seem to have set a new standard for disastrous organisation. If you ever wondered what an Olympics organised by Fianna Fáil would look like, take a gander at what's happened in India.

There have been accusations that the accommodation for athletes is so bad you wouldn't put a dog into it, though these seem to have been disproved by photographic evidence which showed canine shit all over the beds. The Scottish team even produced a photo of one of man's best friends actually doing the dirty deed on a duvet. Secretary of the Organising Committee, a Mr Lalit Dhanot, said that these complaints stemmed from, "different standards about cleanliness between India and the West because of cultural differences." I'm glad you said it squire. Because if one of the Scots had, there'd be war.

Then there was the little matter of a footbridge collapsing the other day and injuring 23 people. And part of the roof of the weightlifting arena falling in. And allegations that child labour is being used. And an Australian journalist smuggling a bomb past security. And a gun attack on a tourist bus. And two members of the organising committee being sacked because of 'irregularities'. And another member resigning because his son's firm had been given the contract to lay the tennis courts. And general evidence of the kind of goings on which suggests some of these boys are auditioning for a job with the Irish government. The organisers seem to have been looking after their pals. And their pedigree chums.

Now there's talk that some countries may boycott the Games. Some athletes have already pulled out. You might almost feel sorry for the organising committee.

You might were it not for the fact that it turns out the labourers working on the stadium in Delhi are being paid less than the local minimum wage. The local minimum wage is $3 a day. So, even if they make the Scottish athletes sleep in a kennel, it's a minor injustice compared to what the local bigwigs have been doing to their own people. After all, if you can't afford to pay workers $3 a day, you shouldn't be lashing out on expensive sports tournaments. Never mind the state of the athletes' village, the boycott should have started when the news of those wages leaked out.

Because, whatever happens, the 2010 Commonwealth Games are an obscenity. Writer Chetan Bhagan has described them as "the most blatant exercise in corruption in independent India's history. Not only have they stolen public money, they've made a mess of the job at hand." And one of the legends of Indian cricket Bishan Bedi says, "It is a complete embarrassment. The games are completely in the doghouse."

The dogs, meanwhile, are completely in the athlete's house.

Sunday Independent

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