New Delhi, Nov 12: India could miss out on hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010 if a dispute over the construction of the athletes' village is not resolved, a senior Games official said on Wednesday.
The four-yearly Games featuring 71 teams from the Commonwealth countries are due to be held in the Indian capital of New Delhi from October 3-14, 2010.
The athletes' village being built on the banks of the Yamuna river has been embroiled in a legal tussle after environmental groups protested the construction would ruin the river bed.
The Delhi High Court has asked an environmental expert to probe if the village that is to house 8,500 athletes and officials should be built on the site.
Austin Sealy, the chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation co-ordination committee, said after a routine inspection of the venues that he was concerned by the ongoing dispute.
"Any change, at this late stage, to the Games village arrangements would seriously jeopardise India's hosting of the Games," Sealy said in a statement.
"The organising committee has been urged to have the matter resolved as a matter of urgency."
Sealy said he was equally worried by the delay in starting work on a new velodrome.
"Less than two years is left for the Games, but construction work on the velodrome has not yet started," he said.
"It is a matter of concern for us. We have urged the organising committee to do everything in their power to start the work."
Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, who heads the Games organising committee, played down Sealy's concerns and promised that all venues would be completed in time.
"Work is going on at the athletes' village because the High Court has not stopped the construction," Kalmadi said.
"The tender for the cycling velodrome will be issued next month and construction will start by December 15 and a world-class facility will be ready on time."
Delays in construction have already forced next year's world badminton championships to be shifted from New Delhi to the southern city of Hyderabad.
Sealy's committee will undertake another inspection of the venues in March.