Kiwi Olympic body to consider CWG participation after September 12

     Mid-September could turn out to be crunch time for the New Zealand Olympic Committee, as it would have to then decide on whether the country will compete in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi from October 3-14. With reports coming out of India suggesting that the Games are enmeshed in a cesspool of corruption and financial irregularity, a September 12 security assessment by a large group of Kiwi officials in Delhi may emerge as a make or break situation for them. An NZOC spokesperson last night confirmed that New Zealand security officials had seen "broad police security plans around the Games, and they are in accordance with best international practice. "Now we're looking forward to September to test the systems and their operational capability," the New Zealand Herald quoted the spokesperson, as saying further. If at that time India cannot convince security experts from a range of nations that the Games are in good hands, it will significantly heighten concerns for athletes' safety. Athletes' Federation boss Rob Nichol said that "hand on heart" he could not say whether New Zealand would send a team. "The biggest mistake we can make right now is forcing ourselves into a position where we have to make a decision," Nichol said. "There will come a point in the future where hard decisions will have to be made about whether it is go or no go. But at this stage it is premature to be focusing on those decisions. "We've [NZFA] not been furnished with a copy of the Delhi police plan for the Games so I cannot put my hand on heart and say I know what's going to be completed yet. "The best thing we can do is to plan as if they are going to go ahead." And if a country such as Canada , Australia or the British representatives - countries with whom New Zealand is closely aligned - decided to withdraw from the Games, would the NZOC follow suit? "It would be a significant red flag," said NZOC president Mike Stanley last night. "We would want to talk with them very carefully as to their reasoning. We'd want to understand that and we would reflect on our position." The Athletes' Federation - formed out of the existing players' associations of rugby, cricket, netball, hockey and soccer - met NZOC and Government officials on Thursday, where they outlined three major security concerns: * A lack of dedicated New Zealand security personnel embedded in the team. * Potential corruption of the accreditation process. * The potential for attacks on athletes and officials in transit on Delhi 's roads. "We don't want to be alarmist, but we've got to be thorough. We believe we need more people embedded with the team," a federation spokesman said. Stanley said Thursday's meeting was "constructive, both in tone and content" and confirmed the suggestion of getting more security personnel engaged within the team was "helpful, and we are looking into it now". He said the accreditation process is "consistent with what happens at other Games". Stanley said developments were monitored on a "day-by-day" basis.

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