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New Zealand Blame CGF For Commonwealth Games Delays

WELLINGTON (New Zealand): The Commonwealth Games Federation "has a lot to answer for" over delays in preparing the athletes' village for next week's New Delhi Games, say New Zealand Olympic officials. Olympic Committee secretary general
PTI September 26, 2010 14:06 IST
PTI
WELLINGTON (New Zealand): The Commonwealth Games Federation "has a lot to answer for" over delays in preparing the athletes' village for next week's New Delhi Games, say New Zealand Olympic officials.

Olympic Committee secretary general Barry Maister said New Zealand officials formed a false impression of the standard of athletes' accommodation in New Delhi because they were shown model facilities during inspection tours and not the actual rooms allocated to their team.

"We sent a delegation to the village four months ago and did not see the tower we were going to be in, nor did any other country, nor did the evaluation commission who went to check out the village," Maister said.

"The CGF has a lot to answer for in that regard. It was their job to ensure the village was ready for habitation."

New Zealand team manager Dave Currie was among the first officials to publicly criticize the squalid conditions in the athletes' village when he was able to access the New Zealand quarters for the first time early last week.

Currie slammed the village as "unlivable," describing leaking rooms which were littered with human waste and construction debris and in which plumbing and wiring had not been properly installed.

Currie's complaints were echoed by other teams when they gained full access to the village, prompting a massive cleanup effort by games organizers to prepare for the arrival of athletes and the games' opening next weekend.

Maister said New Zealand would have pushed the CGF harder over construction and other delays if it had been aware of the real state of the village.

"A year ago we stood inside a finished unit and they said 'this is how it is going to be.' We took them at their word," he said.

"Six months later we were again denied access to the rest of the village, but it was under the presumption the CGF would ensure delivery of the games. In retrospect we should have pushed harder early on to see our facilities."

NZOC president Mike Stanley said his organization relied on CGF assurances that construction of the athletes village was proceeding to schedule.

"(CGF chief executive) Mike Hooper has been based in Delhi for some time to oversee these very things," Stanley said.

"I don't think we were being naive relying on that sort of information to base our judgments on.

"We had a full expectation resources would be applied to the project to get it right and that hasn't happened. It is the organizing committee's responsibility to deliver, and the CGF's responsibility to see jobs are ticked off."