Melbourne: India bribed 72 Commonwealth countries $100,000 each to get the hosting rights for the scandal-hit 19th edition of the Games which will start in Delhi from October 3-14, a media report claimed.
A report in the Daily Telegraph claimed that Delhi pipped Hamilton in the bid after offering huge sums of money to the 72 Commonwealth countries during the final presentation in Jamaica.
The report also said that Australia received a kickback of $125,000 from India.
“Delhi sealed the right to host the Games when their delegates emerged at the final presentation in Jamaica and offered all 72 nations $100,000 (then about $140,000) each for athlete training schemes if they were the successful bidders,” the newspaper reported.
“The money, subsequently paid to all nations, was not significant to Australia because it had already decided to vote for India and the payment was not an exceptionally large one. But for small nations who have minimal interest in the Games, it clinched their vote and India went on to beat Canadian city Hamilton 46-22 in the final poll. Hamilton had offered the nations about $70,000 each,” it said.
The newspaper also claimed that some countries’ which had supported Hamilton’s bid cried foul after India won the bid.
“Hamilton’s bid organizers, and many of the nations who voted for them, fired off angry protests about India buying votes and the bad blood generated between several feuding nations still exists,” it said.
“The Commonwealth Games Association has decided to ban 11th-hour inducements as a consequence of the outrage over India’s tactics.”
Australian Commonwealth Games Association president Sam Coffa also accepted that India offered money to get the Games.
“It (the payment) didn’t make any difference to our decision but it is not a good thing,” Coffa was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.
“We had a situation where Asia has had the Games only once (Malaysia in 1998) and it was worthwhile going again,” he said.
Even though the Delhi Games organizers are battling against time to prepare the city for the mega-event, Coffa was hopeful about a successful CWG.
He, however, came hard on the Commonwealth Games Federation for not taking up the matter, in regard to the city’s preparedness, with the organizers earlier.
“I still think they can pull it off. If I have any regrets it is that the Commonwealth Games Federation did not act sooner. They were behind schedule quite a few months ago and it would have helped if they had gone to India to get things moving,” Coffa said.
Chairman of Hamilton bid Jagoda Pike also pounced on the opportunity and said the scenario would have been different if the Canadian city was awarded the hosting rights.
“I think you can safely say the kinds of issues they are experiencing wouldn’t have happened if it were here,” Pike said.