Mike Hooper (50), chief executive officer, Commonwealth Games Federation, was disappointed and felt that instead of addressing the issues of the Organising Committee (OC), Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi had chosen to attack him. In a freewheeling interview with HT, Hooper defended his stand and said no one could force him to leave Delhi.
Will you leave Delhi?
I have not got an official communication from the OC. There is no question of sacking or repatriating me. I have been appointed by the CGF and I still enjoy their confidence, so let’s see what happens. I am not leaving.
What’s your reaction to Suresh Kalmadi’s remark (that Hooper is useless)?
The reaction is one of disappointment. Instead of addressing the issues (like work running behind schedule, etc), Mr Kalmadi has chosen to attack me.
What prompted Kalmadi to say this?
I don’t know. Don’t shoot the messenger, address the message. Unfortunately, he is shooting the messenger. We have been critical about the functioning of the OC, as highlighted in the media and as expressed by CGF president Michael Fennell, and we have expressed our concerns to the OC. It’s probably a knee-jerk reaction to this.
Will you have problems interacting with the OC?
It’s a question of being honest with the OC and other stakeholders and I do believe more of this is required. We don’t indulge in personal attacks. We have broad shoulders to take this along and walk forward. I am happy to work with all stakeholders.
Was there a clash of interest between you and the OC?
As far as I see, there was no conflict. I am here from the CGF, in fact, I am the CGF and am acting as a messenger. I evaluate things and report. I have been here because of the concerns CGF had two years ago. I have been an impediment? I refute that. I am here to assist the OC and push them. I am not here as a policeman. I am here to assist.
Your take on the Technical Review Panel that the IOA has rejected.
The panel was CGF’s and was even being paid by us. As far as I am concerned, till I am instructed to the contrary to what the CGF Executive Board has told me on Sunday, appointing and executing of the panel stays.