Consultants blamed in Delhi Games 'scam' being made 'scapegoats': Oz Games chief

     Australia's sporting fraternity is backing two veteran consultants embroiled in allegations of corruption and incompetence relating to the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, saying that they are being scapegoated by panicking organizers. The consulting firms of Mike Bushell (Sports Marketing and Management) and Craig McLatchey (Event Knowledge Services) have previously worked on the Sydney Olympics and Melbourne Commonwealth Games. They also have contracts for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics. "They are a well known and very respectable Australian company," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Perry Crosswhite, Australian Commonwealth Games Association chief executive, as saying. "I know both individuals and both companies, and they have always done a very good job for us. I have full confidence in both of them," he added. Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said that New Delhi organizers were seeking to lay blame on outsiders for an event that has been stricken by disasters, cost overruns and poor organization. "It may well be that this is a way for people to distract and deflect criticism from themselves in terms of the organization of these Games that clearly have some problems," Coates said. Earlier, Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee terminated Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM)'s contract over alleged non-performance and inability to deliver sponsorship targets. The Organizing Committee alleged that SMAM had failed to notch up sponsorships worth 122 million dollars by June 30. Out of the 48 sponsorship opportunities identified only about 11 sponsors had come on board. The Switzerland-based Event Knowledge Services (EKS) has also been accused of financial irregularities. The two companies are under investigation by the Indian Enforcement Directorate, which is trailing the money paid to them by the organizers of the Commonwealth Games. According to reports, payments of over Rs. 50crore have been made to these two firms.

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