Cameron rejects criticism of Dow's stadium deal

  • @tompeck

David Cameron has said he "can't see a problem" with Dow Chemical's sponsorship of the wrap that will surround the Olympic Stadium.

The deal has seen the Indian Olympic team threaten to boycott the Games, and has provoked the ire of human rights campaigners. Dow Chemical now own Union Carbide, the company which had a majority shareholding in a subsidiary responsible for the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India, which cost around 25,000 lives.

"Dow was not the owner of Union Carbide at the time, so this is a different company and a different business," the Prime Minister told the Indian broadcaster CNN-IBN.

He added: "The sponsorship of Dow for the Olympics is arranged by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is their decision-making process and I don't criticise their process. What I'm saying, as the British Prime Minister who wants to see the Olympics be successful and not used for industrial or political or other purposes – I can't see a problem with the IOC being sponsored by Dow."

Dow, like McDonalds, Visa and Coca-Cola, is one of the IOC's seven "top-tier" sponsors, but the decision to award the wrap sponsorship to Dow was, in fact, taken by the London 2012 Organising Committee.

The Indian Olympic Association and the Indian sports ministry have asked the IOC to drop Dow as a sponsor, and may yet boycott the opening and closing ceremonies in protest.

The IOC has said that Dow bought Union Carbide 16 years after the disaster, by which point a compensation settlement had been reached.