The Rio Olympic organisers have written to Indian mission citing their displeasure at MoS Vijay Goel and his entourage. Miffed with Goel’s entourage, terming their conduct as “aggressive” and “rude”, the organisers have even threatened to cancel his accreditation. On his part, Goel has rejected the allegations of misbehaviour stating that nothing of that sort has happened.
The Sports minister is in Rio-de-Janeiro to cheer for the Indian contingent besides monitoring their requirements at the Games Village.
“We have had multiple reports of your Minister for Sports trying to enter accredited areas at venues with unaccredited individuals. When the staff try to explain that this is not allowed, they report that the people with the Minister have become aggressive and rude and sometimes push past our staff,” Sarah Peterson, who is Continental Manager for Rio 2016 Organising Committee, said in a letter to Indian Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta.
“As you can understand, this type of behaviour is not acceptable. Despite previous warnings, it would seem that even today the same incident occurred at the Rio Olympic Arena (Gymnastics venue) and Carioca Arena 3,” the Continental Manager added in her letter.
Saying that the Minister’s accreditation could be cancelled because of this, she added, “Should our protocol team be made aware of further examples of this type of behaviour, the accreditation of your Minister for Sports will be cancelled and his privileges at the Olympic Games withdrawn. We trust you will pass on this message urgently.”
Responding to the controversy, Vijay Goel rejected allegations against himself and his entourage.
“I don’t know who wrote the letter and what are his capacities and post. The letter written to Chef-de-Mission states that they have some issue from our staff members, regarding misbehavior or access. I don’t know any such things and they have not written against me, the letter also does not have anything against the sports minister,” he said.
When asked about trying to forcibly enter the hockey arena, Goel defended it saying he was taken in by the volunteers.
“The volunteers had taken him to the field of play because otherwise how is he allowed to go? I couldn’t have gone on my own,” he said adding, “I went to the hockey pitch to cheer up our team only, and it is not a crime. We are here to cheer up our teams only”.
Reasoning there could have been some communication misunderstanding, the Sports minister said he expected certain things to be communicated verbally before taking the matter straightaway to the Chef-de-Mission.
“They should have told things orally, we are not informed anything and they wrote straight away to Chef-de-Mission. Language is also a main problem here, may be there is a misunderstanding because of that,” said Goel.
(With inputs from the PTI)