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Commonwealth Games project clears first hurdle

GLASGOW'S 2014 Commonwealth Games has passed its first formal "MoT", with inspectors giving preparations for the event a clean bill of health.

ON TRACK: Bruce Robertson, flanked by colleague Mike Hooper, left, and Glasgow 2014's David Grevemberg, is pleased with progess. Picture: PA
ON TRACK: Bruce Robertson, flanked by colleague Mike Hooper, left, and Glasgow 2014's David Grevemberg, is pleased with progess. Picture: PA

Despite a more stringent inspection regime following the last-minute fiasco around last year’s Delhi Games, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) found no “red flags” to cause concern during its four-day visit to the city.

All aspects of the preparation, including venues, the athletes’ village, transport, security and safety and workplace planning, were assessed.

Bruce Robertson, vice-president of the CGF and chairman of the Co-ordination Commission (CoCom), said the Delhi experience had led to several elements being added to the inspection regime, including more technical detail on issues like transport and security.

He also said some “terms of reference” used during checks had changed since Delhi, where athletes’ accommodation and even areas around stadiums were incomplete just days before the event last November.

Mr Robertson also said there was nothing less than a red flag that had alerted them, insisting the visit, the first of six between now and the opening ceremony in July 2014, was focusing on the more strategic elements of the preparation

The Canadian added that, while he was unaware of the specific issues in Glasgow’s east end to comment on whether the Games “legacy” promises had been overblown, he was encouraged by the inclusion of community facilities within some of the main sports venues under construction.

Mr Robertson said: “The project is on course. There are no ‘red flags’. We are satisfied with progress including the great strength of partnership, progress on planning and delivery of the major infrastructure elements such as the athletes’ village and the sports venues, and the clear focus on generating value and legacy for the people of Glasgow and Scotland.

“As an example, 78% of contracts awarded have gone to Scottish companies.

“The Games will create hundreds of jobs and will achieve sustainable benefits for Glasgow, enhancing skills, regeneration of strategically important parts of the city, and developing improved amenity and opportunities for sport and healthy lifestyles.”

He said the Games governance structures were “in good order” and the partnership across the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and the Organising Committee was “impressive, as good as we have seen of any recent Games”.

Mr Robertson added: “With just less than three years to go, the focus now moves on to detailed operational planning. 2014 may seem a long way off, but the level of activity typically accelerates at this stage of a Games project and we all need to shift into the next gear to keep pace.

“The next Co-ordination Commission visit is set for April 2012 and at that time we will be looking for the Organising Committee to have recruited more staff.

“We’ll also be undertaking a further review of Glasgow’s plans for transforming venues into Games-ready facilities, reviewing the sports programme, finalising the routes for the road courses and reviewing the Organising Committee’s ticketing programme.”

One Games source said: “The problem with Delhi is it wanted to be Beijing and promote India as an Asian powerhouse like China. Glasgow has no intention of being London. It’s not that type of event.

“There’s none of the bloat and with many of the venues already either complete or far down the road there’s much less margin for error than hosts of other multi-sport events.”

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said: “We are on track and on budget and we’re absolutely delighted to show the Co-ordination Commission members our progress, as well as discuss the pathway ahead of us.

“We have achieved a great deal to date, we have a great team and we are confident we will deliver an outstanding Games.”

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