Australian Sports Firm Refutes Charges of Financial Irregularities

Melbourne, Aug 4 (IANS): Australian sports management firm Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), which finds itself in the midst of controversy regarding the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, has refuted allegations of any financial irregularities.

SMAM and Swiss-based Event Knowledge Services (EKS) are reportedly being investigated on charges that the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC) had allegedly paid them more than $US10 million for their services, but they had not fulfilled their obligations.

SMAM, headed by Mike Bushell, has been the Australian Olympic Committee's (AOC) marketing arm for more than 20 years and has run the marketing programme for the Sydney Olympics, and the most recent Commonwealth Games in Manchester (2002) and Melbourne (2006).

EKS is run by former AOC secretary-general Craig McLatchey, who has provided consultancy services to every summer and winter Olympics in the past decade and was one of the architects of Brazil's winning bid for the 2016 games.

Bushell said he was horrified by the claims and flatly denied the allegations.

"We have already beaten the record sponsorship revenue we gained for Melbourne ($US85m) and that's still going, but we have not received a single rupee (from Delhi) yet and there's money overdue," Bushell was quoted as saying by The Australian.

"(The claims) are disgraceful. I'm not sure what the agenda is."

In a statement, SMAM said the India allegations about SMAM's operations in Delhi were "unfounded, baseless and false" and the company was not under investigation.

SMAM was criticised over its contract with the organising committee which entitles it to commissions of up to 15 per cent for public sector sponsorship deals with state-owned companies, and up to 22 per cent for private sponsorship.


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Title: Australian Sports Firm Refutes Charges of Financial Irregularities

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