Monday, April 12, 2010
Countdown to the Commonwealth Games
Before we begin, let us remind you that this report is late. Of course, you may have understood that the Commonwealth Games are a matter of national pride. Which is why, we have decided to incorporate a ‘desi’ feel to it wherever applicable. And a late report is therefore putting our best Kolhapuri-clad foot forward.
Firstly, we had to tackle security. From the maoists. From the militants. And even from Mamta Bannerjee. On the lady’s advice, farmers raised a hue and cry demanding their land back. As it turned out, the sporting facilities were being constructed on agricultural land. When the media contacted Ratan Tata for his opinion, the gentleman responded with a god-bless-your-souls tone, “The authorities will have a tough time in trying to derail Mamta Di’s forces. We’d learnt it the hard way. The government will have to beef up security for the participating nations.”
We then moved to the home ministry with the request. The response was far from ideal. “Our forces have been preoccupied. The forces have been assigned to various roles in Kashmir, North East, maoist-occupied India, states having their ‘annual’ elections and the venues of IPL matches. And currently, we are short-staffed. We are not able to match the employment terms of our rivals, and as a result there is a hiring freeze. We will have to look at other avenues.”
Desperate for ideas, our officials knock on the doors of Mr. Lalit Modi. After listening to the concerns of the committee, Mr. Modi astutely recommended, “Why don’t we move the games to South Africa. Anyway, you will not be earning so much of revenue from the sale of tickets as compared to television rights. Besides, it’ll save you several operational headaches. And most importantly, in the future, nobody will take your event for granted”.
Amazed at Modi’s presence of mind, our officials prepare to have talks with our counterparts in South Africa. But then Modi returns with another masterstroke. “Why don’t we just hold a bidding to decide the new venue of the Commonwealth Games. We’ll issue tenders to everyone who’d want to own the hosting rights of the Commonwealth Games. I’ll offer myself as the commissioner for the Commonwealth Games and deal with all interested parties.” We simply couldn’t believe their ears. We hadn’t imagined we’d been sitting on a landmine all this while.
The news was out. There would be a fresh auction for the hosting of Commonwealth Games, six months before the actual event. “If we could shift the IPL in a little under two months, I’m sure we could host the Commonwealth games three times in 6 months.", said a confident Modi.
The one clause that was added for the benefit of the host was that they could field a contingent by acquiring athletes from any part of the world. But they’d have to be suitably remunerated. This changed the dynamics of the games. Suddenly athletes from Australia, Canada, Britain and Jamaica who had expressed security concerns earlier, now expressed their availability to represent the new entity that would host the Commonwealth Games. The clause also stated that the new entity could only field one foreign athlete per sport, but had to fill the rest from their catchment areas. The definition of ‘catchment areas’ was then worked upon by a team of legal experts. Insider sources revealed that a catchment area would be a geographical area that had a population of at least 500 million citizens.
This prompted a huge response from prospective bidders in the BRIC nations. The European Union decided to form a consortium, since that would give them a strong entry into the Commonwealth games. The White House announced their interest, and President Obama and his team worked on yet another Cannes-winning campaign to garner public support in winning the hosting rights.
The team from Australia backed out. The Australian spokesman was heard saying, “We just do not have the resources to participate in the auction. We’ll have to settle with mere participation in the games. Also, we have to prepare for fresh competition from the new host. Our top position at the Commonwealth Games is no longer assured like in the past.” Teams from Britain and Canada followed suit, awaiting the results of the auction.
The auction proved to very competitive. The Chinese lost out because their delegates did not understand the English auctioneer. Brazil, Russia and the EU lost out to the might of an American and an Indian consortium. Eventually, the American consortium pulled the plug and forfeited the hosting rights to the Indian consortium; realizing that to cut operational costs, they would have to outsource operations to India anyway. The Indian team was triumphant. “The hosting rights was ours in the first place”, said an official proudly brandishing the tri-colour. While the Indian Consortium is still to reveal its members, the news is that it was a union of the Indian Home Ministry, the Indian Sports Ministry, and the IPL. “There was complete transparency in the entire process”, assured Commissioner Lalit Modi.
It was decided that ‘Mumbai Indians’ would be the name of the contingent from the host’s side, and that they are on a major recruiting spree. One Swiss Tennis player, one African long distance runner, one Russian gymnast and one American Golfer (who will only closely follow the pretty Russian gymnast out of an old habit) have already confirmed their participation with the ‘Indians’. Meanwhile, the Home Ministry is reported to be working overtime to address the security concerns of participating nations. Watch this space for more.
PS: This is a figment of the author’s imagination. If any real event bares even the slightest resemblance to the one in this article, kindly congratulate the author on his accuracy.