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Delhi versus Birch

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And the saga goes on ... with the Delhi OC now refusing to pay Ric Birch (amongst others) because of "cynicism":

Birch was rude and cynical, say Delhi officials

DELHI: Commonwealth Games chiefs are citing three angry emails that accuse the Australian events supremo Ric Birch of being cynical, overly critical and ''downright rude'' as the reason not to pay him more than $350,000 he is owed from the staging of last year's Games.

The emails from the Indian creators of the Delhi Commonwealth Games ceremonies illuminate the acrimony that plagued the lead-up to the Games. The Indian ceremonies team and Mr Birch, the international consultant on the Games, fell out over nearly every element of the opening and closing shows.

It's an enmity that has worsened this week with the Games organising committee's decision not to pay more than $4 million owed to nine foreign companies who helped stage the Games for ''non-performance of contracts''.

But the Herald has learnt that in Mr Birch's case, it is these emails that form the basis for Games chiefs refusing to pay his company, Spectak Productions, the $350,000 the contract says it is owed. They make no mention of his contractual obligations.

The creative director for the Delhi ceremonies, Bharat Bala, said when Mr Birch began work with the Indian ceremonies team, there was goodwill all around.

But Mr Bharat's email, sent to the Games organising committee and obtained by the Herald, shows the relationship soured.

''As time passed he became too cynical and critical of the way work was being carried out and stopped contributing. Instead most of his time was spent in putting together reports for the organising committee on how the ceremonies cannot be organised if things were not put in place as per his instructions.''

Mr Birch did not attend the closing ceremony. He told the Herald it was because Games chiefs gave him a visa that expired on October 14, the day of the closing ceremony, and that he was warned he would be arrested if he overstayed.

''But ironically, looking back,'' Mr Bharat said, ''his absence seemed to have helped in the production for the ceremonies. Constant criticism … could have been damaging to the spirit of this production.''

Ajay Rao worked with the Indian events company Wizcraft on the Games ceremonies. He said Mr Birch's behaviour was ''downright rude and unacceptable''.

Mr Birch, a veteran of six Olympic Games and scores of big events across the globe, has said an organising committee hopelessly out of its depth was rescued by the international expertise around it.

''The international contractors … worked under appalling conditions to deliver the ceremonies for an organising committee that was totally incapable of doing so itself.''

He was critical, he says, of the preparations because they were shambolic and dangerously disorganised. He said the claims of ''non-performance of contract'' by Games bosses were baseless.

''At no time during the term of the contract did [Games organisers] mention any dissatisfaction and waited two months after the Games, and two months after final payment was due, to announce that Spectak was 'not up to the mark'.''

He said the continuing saga was an embarrassment for India. ''This is simply a small example of why it is so difficult and unrewarding to do business in India - let it be a lesson to us all.''

Mr Birch has begun legal action to recoup the money. Other firms appear certain to follow, in what has already been an ugly aftermath for the Games. The organising committee chairman was sacked over alleged corruption and criminal charges have been recommended against the host broadcaster for irregularities.

But the new chairman of the organising committee, Jarnail Singh, told the Herald it had no intention of paying out.

Sydney Morning Herald

Edited by Sir Rols
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Hmmmmm. I wonder if the Indian NOC is aware of this--totally killing any future chance they have of hoping to win an OG.

Unfortunately though, Birch and the others will have to sue in Indian courts-- and not the ICJ since it is purely a tort of breaking a contract. The legal counsel has to get word to the Indian NOC that it is the kiss of death for them.

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