Games Federation denies backlash over entries

MATT RICHENS IN GLASGOW
Last updated 08:11 23/07/2014
NO BACKLASH: Kiwi Mike Hooper, the departing Commonwealth Games chief executive, denies there has been anger over 48 athletes being allowed to compete despite missing entry deadlines.
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REWARDED: NZ's Mike Hooper has been made a life member of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

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The Commonwealth Games Federation claims there was no backlash and only minor issues from other nations after they allowed 48 athletes to compete in Glasgow despite missing entry deadlines.

Fairfax Media understands some countries' representatives at the Games' general assembly this week were livid to hear that after having their own extension requests to the June deadline denied, countries whose administrators missed the deadline all together still received a dispensation. 

New Zealand's Mike Hooper, the departing CGF chief executive, denied that was the case, but did concede there was unrest.

"I don't know if the right word is upset, but we had some commentary," he said this morning in Glasgow.

The CGF claimed to have "rescued the dreams" of the 48 athletes who come from Kenya, Jamaica, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, Australia and Ghana.

"A well-advertised deadline for entries closed on June 11, but due to a number of oversights by their own administrators the athletes were not entered and faced missing their events," a CGF statement said.

Once it was ascertained whether or not the athletes could be included logistically, including in the Athletes' Village, it was decided to let all 48 compete.

"The CGF Executive Board took the view that wherever possible athletes should not suffer because of the failings of their administrators," HRH Prince Imran, the CGF president said. 

At next year's general assembly in Auckland, it was likely to be decided sanctions would be placed on countries which fail to meet deadlines.

"These situations must be avoided in the future," Imran said.

Meanwhile the CGF also defended ticket sales for the Games which start tomorrow morning (NZ time).

A number of the events are still listed on ticketing websites as tickets being "highly available", including tomorrow morning's opening ceremony and the closing ceremony.

Hooper said that could mean as few as 500 tickets were available and gave the large size of some of the venues as a mitigating factor.

He was quick to add more than a million tickets had been sold even before some of the event's stars had confirmed their attendance.

More than 1.1m tickets have now been sold.

"The reality it, the way in which the people of Scotland and Glasgow, and the wider United Kingdom actually, have got behind the event has been absolutely fantastic," he said. 

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