IOA to convey Olympic sponsorship concerns to IOC: Malhotra

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2011, 17:40 PM IST

New Delhi: With the Dow Chemicals sponsorship of next year`s London Olympics causing outrage among Bhopal Gas tragedy victims, the IOA on Monday decided to take up the matter with the International Olympic Committee.

The Indian Olympic Association today said that it will convey the concerns of the victims and Olympians to organisers of the 2012 London Games regarding its sponsorship deal with Dow.

"We will discuss this issue in our Executive Board & General Body Meeting on 15th December, 2011, IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said in a statement here.

"We will try to make Games Organisers aware of the feeling of the people who have suffered due to that tragedy. It is not only the Indians who are protesting this sponsorship, there has been an outcry against this world over from various NGO`s and other bodies, it is no longer a local issue," he said.

Dow Chemicals, which last year in July signed an agreement with the IOC, is the company that took over Union Carbide, responsible for the Bhopal Gas tragedy that killed over 15,000 people and disabled lakhs.

The sports ministry earlier today asked the IOA to raise the issue with IOC.

Dow Chemical will foot the bill of a temporary decorative wrap over London`s Olympic Stadium and the move has created "dismay among the victims and others who see Olympic Games as celebration of best of human spirits."

The IOA has received representations from several Olympians and NGOs protesting the organisers` link with Dow.

Malhotra said former Olympians, IOA and the government are not happy with the sporting extravaganza`s association with any `tainted` sponsors.

"We understand the feelings of the players, governmentand the NGOs. We will discuss it seriously and see what we can do at our level. We will also keep the Union Government in the loop," Malhotra said.

The IOA is bound by the Olympic charter and "we will play our role within the framework of this charter," he added.

In a letter addressed to Malhotra, the ministry expressed concern about the status of the contentious company as the official worldwide Olympic partner.

"The matter of Dow`s liability, in respect of the Bhopal Gas tragedy victims is sub-judice and that the Government of India has itself filed a suit against the company. Strong public sentiment exists in this matter and a number of eminent ex-Olympians have also raised concerns," the letter had stated.

"In the light of the above, and the fact that under the agreement between Dow and IOC, Dow will partner IOC and National Olympic Committees around the world, including India. We would advise the Indian Olympic Association to raise this matter immediately with the IOC while keeping the government informed."

PTI