England’s Commonwealth Games officials have denied receiving any security warnings about possible terrorist attack on athletes in next year’s mega sports event to be held in New Delhi, to indicate that the team should withdraw.
Ann Hogbin, England General Team Manager, issued a strong denial of a front page report that appeared in Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Telegraph claiming that there was ‘virtually no chance’ a team would be sent.
Quoting unnamed political sources, an online version of the report said that a formal pullout from the event could be announced in the New Year because security could not be guaranteed there.
“That is definitely not the case. Our current and strong intention is to field a team for the games in Delhi next year,” Hogbin said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Of course, we have a duty of care to the athletes and other team members which we take very seriously.”
“Despite having been given extensive briefings from relevant authorities, we have not received any indication that we should not participate in the games and we will continue to work hard to put in place the best possible arrangements for our team.”
Britain’s Foreign Office was quoted as saying by the AP that it has ‘not advised any of the British teams not to participate in the Commonwealth Games’.
“We are aware that the Commonwealth Games Federation had some concerns about preparations for the games,” the statement added. “We continue to work closely with the Indian authorities who are doing everything they can to ensure a safe and secure games.”
The Telegraph claimed that Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, expressed ‘serious concerns’ about security arrangements in New Delhi after a visit this month.
It may be mentioned that after last year’s Mumbai terror attacks and the March attack on Sri Lanka’s cricket team in neighbouring Pakistan, security at the October 3-14 event has been under scrutiny.
Also when England’s badminton team pulled out of the world championships in Hyderabad and Australia refused to play a Davis Cup match in Chennai, it was cited that they pulled out due to safety concerns and lax security.