THE independence referendum will fuel international interest in the Glasgow 2014 Games, a leading overseas Commonwealth official claims.

Scott Stevenson, the director of sport at Canada's Commonwealth Games Association, said there was intense Canadian interest in the independence debate in his home country.

The SNP Government has come in for criticism for angling to use the Glasgow Games to boost its "Yes" campaign in the run-up to the referendum.

However, the leading sports administrator believes the political backdrop to the 2014 Games could provide a much-needed boost for the event.

Mr Stevenson said: "The referendum being close to the Games will generate interest among Canadians. We've a history of nationalism in Quebec so we can relate to it probably more than most countries.

"I'm pretty optimistic there'll be greater interest in Glasgow than some recent Games."

He added that politics must be avoided at the event itself, saying: "I've asked in meetings this week how we can expect the political issues to play out and that politics won't be put into the Games.

"Athletes want to come in and compete, unencumbered by politics."