Inside Lines: Commonwealth Games face a no-show if Delhi goes belly-up

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The Independent Online

Lawrence Dallaglio has been recruited to help beef up England's bid to do an Ashes and oust Australia as the top nation in next year's Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

With a dozen other luminaries, he joins the board of Commonwealth Games England, the role of the intensely patriotic former England rugby union captain (pictured right) apparently being to add motivational muscle. So let's hope he has a Games to go to as there are increasing signals from India that the event is in serious trouble, not only because of obvious security concerns – the Aussies are not alone in dithering about going.

Preparations are so dangerously behind schedule that the Games Federation chief Michael Fennell has demanded a meeting with the Indian prime minister calling for "urgent action". And on the security front we hear Scotland Yard, whose officers have visited Delhi several times recently, have yet to be convinced that the safety of British teams can be guaranteed. What happens if Delhi goes belly-up? Nothing, apparently. "They would have to be cancelled as there is no Plan B," a senior Games official tells us. Or a Plan M, as the financial climate rules out Melbourne and Manchester, the last two Games hosts, being placed on standby.

Bunce bounces back

Quite a few pundits are still picking up the pieces (though not their paychecks) after the collapse of TV sports channel Setanta. Five-figure creditors include the football studio summarisers Tim Sherwood and Steve McManaman and commentator John Rawling, while boxing presenter Steve Bunce is owed six grand. Like boxing itself he is finding it hard to get back on the box. But Buncey, bless him, is nothing if not resilient – and inventive. Having failed to find a new home for his punchy, provocative 'Boxing Hour' (despite of his bringbackbunce site registering 1.4m hits), he is now taking it on the road. The 90-minute gig of interviews, phone-ins and quizzes starts a 12-week nationwide tour in Salford on Tuesday night. Bunce promises part of the weekly proceeds will go to local amateur boxing clubs so for that alone it is worth checking out on buncelive.com

No Home Office advantage

The Government say they are keen to attract significant sports events here to boost the economy. So why are the Home Office making this difficult by recently refusing visas to competitors from overseas, including three leading Ethiopian athletes (one of them a former Olympic medallist) and Pakistan's blind cricket team? Odd, isn't it?

Bolt from the Blues?

With Togo now unlikely to make it to the World Cup, a Manchester City fan suggests that star striker Emmanuel Adebayor should be fast-tracked into the African nation's Olympic sprint squad after his epic turn of speed last weekend. Actually, Sky put a stopwatch on his dash of just under 100 metres: 16.2sec. Hardly a Usain Bolt in boots, but with a bit of sprint coaching, starting blocks, a pair of spikes and that sliding finish under the tape, he might really have something to celebrate.

insidelines@ independent.co.uk

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