February 20, 2010

Police Rejects Tennis Australia's claim

Delhi Police has "rubbished" Tennis Australia's claim that the security plan for the Commonwealth Games was stolen last year.
TA said that it had contributed in the decision of skipping the Davis Cup tie against India.

"Tennis Australia commissioned two security firms to assess the risk of its players competing in the tie in Chennai and cited the stolen plans as justification for its decision to withdraw from the tournament," the 'Sydney Morning Herald' reported.

Reacting to the claims, the Delhi Police said nothing of that sort happened.

"We deny this. It is baseless and rubbish allegations," a senior Delhi Police official told PTI.

The tie was scheduled in May in Chennai last year.

The Tennis Australia report does not specify who stole the security blueprints for the Games but the newspaper quoted a source as saying that, "It forced the organisers to rejig the whole security plans for the Games."

TA President Geoff Pollard said the other factors that contributed to the decision included the general elections in India and the "escalated activity by Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka".

"Al-Qaeda are everywhere in the world but they are a slightly higher risk in India than in other places. If the stolen plans had been the only risk, I think we would have gone to Chennai but we had the two extra risks of the election and the Tamils in the dying weeks of their last fight," Pollard said.

Australian Commonwealth Games Association Chief Executive Perry Crosswhite said he did come across reports of thefts but didn't know which documents had been stolen.

"I'm not aware what specifically happened but I am aware of reports from India that Commonwealth Games plans had been lost, or stolen," he said.

"We are on constant alert of what might or might not be going on in Delhi. We rely on information from the Commonwealth Games Association, our own Commonwealth Government, the High Commission in India and we have a whole security team of people working on this," added ACGA president Sam Coffa.

The TA's internal report had questioned the security plan for the Davis Cup based on the assessment.

"In or about mid April 2009, ITF subsequently was provided with Risk Assessment undertaken by its Security Consultants (Olive Group) and the same was forwarded to TA ...

Such report gave cause for concern for TA in that:

"(a) some of the persons/and or organisations consulted by the Olive Group, namely representatives of the All India Tennis Association, Tamil Nadu Tennis Association and Security Committee and the Park Hotel, all had obvious interests that the Tie take place in Chennai.

"(b) it appeared that the only 'independent' person consulted was the Chennai Commissioner of Police; "(c) what was provided was the Olive Group's Assessment of the Security Plan, not the Security Plan itself;

"(d) it did not appear to provide for an adequate exit strategy to remove the team from Chennai should a terrorist attack take place, and;

"(e) the assurances given to the Olive Group's representatives with respect to the security provided appeared to have been given to them verbally and not in writing."

"Both assessments found that there was a credible risk of terrorist attacks within the Chennai region at or about the time the said Davis Cup Tie was to take place," TA said in its submission.

The ITF had fined Australia only USD 10,000 for forfeiting the tie.

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