Commonwealths:Big cash boost for 2010 Games

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As part of their presentation to the Commonwealth Games Federation in September, India promised to pay for the travel and accommodation of all the teams, an offer which was matched in part by the Hamilton bid delegation, to the sum of £3m for training scholarships leading up to the Games.This would have worked out at around £35,000 per team.However, at the presentation to the Commonwealth countries at the Jamaican resort of Montego Bay just over a week ago, Delhi upped their bid to the equivalent of £75,000 per team.This incensed the head of the Hamilton bid delegation, Jagoda Pike, who claimed that India had acted unethically by offering cash at the last minute.However, Louise Martin, secretary general of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said the cash incentive was not against the rules.And Alan Cross, secretary of the Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey, who was at the final presentation of the two countries in Jamaica, added that the Delhi bid had been very cleverly orchestrated.Their delegates spoke after the Hamilton bid had been unveiled, when their increased cash incentive was announced.

And, although it could have played a part when the votes were cast, more probably the delegation were rewarded with the Games after bidding twice for them before.’In the past the host countries haven’t given a cash sum,’ Cross said.

‘This is the first time that the full travel costs will be met.

Before, we were given a travel grant, based on the number of people we were sending.’And we won’t know how much we will receive until after the Melbourne Games.’For after voting 46-22 in favour of Delhi, the representative countries decided that the CGF would administer the Indians’ money after Melbourne have staged the 2006 Games.That, too, could cause a problem, for some countries might be tempted to send much bigger teams, knowing that all costs will be paid for.’But it won’t happen like that,’ said Cross.

‘Almost certainly they will look to the average number of competitors sent by each member of the Commonwealth to the last three Games, and the costs will be met accordingly.’The irony of this is that as Guernsey have sent larger teams to previous Games, including Manchester last year, they could receive a bigger grant – and send a bigger team – than Jersey.’A precedent has been set,’ added Cross.

‘In future I think it is likely that the full travel costs will be met.

You have to remember, though, that this was the first time in some years that two countries have bid for the Games.’I actually believe that Delhi would have won without this offer,’ said Cross.

‘Clearly they won the sympathy vote having previously bid for the 1990 and 1994 Games.’I would also suggest that taking away the pressure of having to raise funds to get to a Games is quite a significant help to the competing countries and especially to the Committee.’Delhi is to spend $422 million on staging the Games, which includes building two new venues and upgrading existing sites.

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