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Jacques Says Delhi's Problem Is Pessimistic Media


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Yep, the same guy who has been encouraging the South Americans to dream about an Olympic Winter Games has come out as a staunch supporter of Delhi 2010, putting all the blame for the negative aspects of the organisation and build up to these games on the local media:

IOC president Jacques Rogge predicted Tuesday that the Commonwealth Games in New India will be a success, despite preparations being overshadowed by corruption allegations and delays in venues being completed.

Things have become so bad in India that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appointed a new group of ministers to oversee preparations, visit venues each week to monitor progress and ensure contractors meet fresh deadlines. The ministers were meeting in New Delhi on Sunday to plan how to hasten lagging preparations for the events beginning Oct. 3 in the Indian capital.

Rogge, however, blamed much of the problems on “pessimistic media” and said he the Commonwealth Games will showcase India's ability to host big sporting events.

“I'm optimistic in spite of everything written by pessimist media for the Commonwealth Games,” Rogge told The Associated Press. “They will show the capacity of India to organize great games.”

Earlier this month, two top Indian officials were fired amid corruption allegations involving the Queen's Baton Relay in London. Organizing committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, however, resisted calls for his resignation and the government also appeared unwilling to create more confusion by demanding he quit at this late stage.

Singh also ordered “thorough investigations” into all complaints that have been received about irregularities in building standards, loss of revenue, or overpayments in handing out contracts.

“All those found guilty should face severe and exemplary punishment,” Singh said.

However, punitive action against those responsible for the delays and charges of clearing substandard construction or other corrupt practices would only be taken after the games finish on Oct. 14.

“The public has a right to know the facts, and the ministers will ensure that timely and authentic information on the state of preparations and the remaining tasks is released to the public,” the statement said.

Faced with the embarrassing possibility of the venues not being ready on time, Singh asked for a weekly report from the ministers and ordered a top Cabinet official to co-ordinate daily monitoring of preparations. He will visit the stadiums at the end of August.

Singh was forced to step in following mounting pressure from the national media and opposition parties in India demanding that the government take action against Kalmadi, who they hold primarily responsible for the delays and irregularities.

Last week, India's Central Vigilance Commission issued a report highlighting shoddy building practices and potential problems surrounding the certification of work on games sites. Construction delays have meant that none of the games venues would be finished before deadline.

With infrastructure projects around the city also well behind schedule, the Indian capital is in a race against time to be ready to host the Oct. 3-14 Commonwealth Games — the biggest sporting event in the country since the 1982 Asian Games.

Gotta hand it to JR...2 year olds get killed in the main stadium, sponsors threaten to pull out, venues are incomplete or possibly substandard, thousands of Delhi's poorest are being pushed aside in the quest for games glory and dollars, merchandising deals are yet to be completed, security concerns are rife, the Indian PM has to step in to get things done and Rogge blames the likes of the Times of India for being pessimistic!

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Yep, the same guy who has been encouraging the South Americans to dream about an Olympic Winter Games has come out as a staunch supporter of Delhi 2010, putting all the blame for the negative aspects of the organisation and build up to these games on the local media:

Gotta hand it to JR...2 year olds get killed in the main stadium, sponsors threaten to pull out, venues are incomplete or possibly substandard, thousands of Delhi's poorest are being pushed aside in the quest for games glory and dollars, merchandising deals are yet to be completed, security concerns are rife, the Indian PM has to step in to get things done and Rogge blames the likes of the Times of India for being pessimistic!

I usually give Rogge a bit of slack on these things. He's constrained in his public pronouncements as to how forthright or candid he can be. It's his role to be publicly diplomatic and encouraging and neutral.

But, no, this time he's lost a lot of my respect when he starts trying to pin everything on bad press. Always the last refuge of the desperate to blame the messenger.

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His usual diplomatic words. We're used to this. It's never sounded more hollow though.

Is this all he said? Because it's hard to tell from one little soundbite whether he really blames the press. What context were these words spoken and to whom?

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His usual diplomatic words. We're used to this. It's never sounded more hollow though.

Is this all he said? Because it's hard to tell from one little soundbite whether he really blames the press. What context were these words spoken and to whom?

I've been trawling the web for more details but almost all sites carry the same quotation fropm AP (whose site gives nothing else either). I can only assume it was his answer to a question about the CGs asked by an AP reporter at a Singapore YOG news conference.

Plus I can only assume Rogge has bugger all knowledge of the CG disasters or care for them. Ever the diplomat he's got one thing on his mind right now and that's his baby, the YOGs...

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Rogge only makes his comments carry less weight with statements like these. I understand that he is trying to be diplomatic, but he could have at least acknowledged the challenges, and still state his optimism for a successful Games.

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Rogge's comments, for the most part, have always carried very little weight. And it all started just a couple of years after he became IOC president, with his infamous comment that Havana (when they were bidding back then) had "just as good a chance" as anybody else to host the Olympic Games. That one right there should've been the biggest clue that he's nothing but a lip-service president.

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If you want a positive but bland corporate message, listen to Jacques Rogge.

If you want the real dirt, talk to Dick Pound.

As much as I admire Dick I wonder how close he is nowadays to the power brokers and key decision makers within the IOC's upper echelons, particularly with the advent of JR and his own public dummy spit in the race for the Prez's chair. I am dead certain DP knows where a lot of the bodies are buried from the height of the wily old Falangist's reign, but like Anita de Franz and Kev Gosper I suspect Dick's best years and most informed involvement in the current Belgian-headed IOC are not as they were.

And yes...JR reminds me very much of the CEO of a singularly successful but wary of controversy global corporate group.

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