Aussie sports administrators back SMAM

Updated: Aug 07, 2010, 10:42 AM IST

Melbourne: Australian consultancy firm SMAM,
whose contract was terminated by the Delhi Commonwealth Games
organisers for "non-performance", on Saturday got the backing of top
sports administrators here who said the company has been made
a scapegoat in the corruption scandals that have rocked the
event in India.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said
the Delhi Games OC was trying to divert attention from the
allegations of widescale corruption and incompetence by
terminating the Melbourne-based Sports Marketing and
Management`s (SMAM) contract.

"It may well be that this is a way for people to distract
and deflect criticism from themselves in terms of the
organisation of these Games that clearly have some problems,"
he said.

Australia`s Commonwealth Games Association CEO Perry
Crosswhite also backed the firm, which was supposed to rope in
sponsorship for the Delhi Games but failed to fulfill
expectations of the organisers.

"They are a well known and very respectable Australian
company," Crosswhite told the `Sydney Morning Herald`.

SMAM is headed by Mike Bushell, who supervised
sponsorship deals for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2006
Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

"They have always done a very good job for us. I have
full confidence in them," said Crosswhite.

Another sports administrator, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, was scathing in his criticism of the way SMAM`s
contract was terminated.

"The Indians don`t want to pay up, and so they are
attacking and making these claims. This is not an isolated
thing, getting money out of them - particularly if you are a
foreign contractor - it has been a nightmare. They are trying
to push this thing out and out to avoid paying the commissions
they owe," he fumed.