IOA Accuses Indian Government of Double Standards over Dow Sponsorship

March 6, 2012

India’s protest over Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the Olympics is being diluted by the country’s Government following claims they are working closely with the London 2012 sponsor.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has accused the Government of double standards and warned that if the Sport Ministry’s plan of a partial boycott of London 2012 is carried out it could mean “serious repercussions”.

The IOA have protested to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about Dow being a worldwide partner and to London 2012 over the American company’s sponsorship of the wrap around the Olympic Stadium. 

They are angry at Dow’s links to the Bhopal disaster in 1984, which has allegedly caused the deaths of 25,000 people.

India’s Sports Minister Ajay Maken yesterday claimed that the athletes will play a vital role in deciding whether to boycott London and that if they did take any action then they would receive the support of the Government, who have also protested to the IOC.

But IOA acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra has again hit out at their stance towards Dow, who currently employs more than 900 people and boasts sales in excess of $500 million (£316 million) in India.

“The Government’s double speak has created more problems and weakened our case further,” said Malhotra, who has written a letter to the Government about the situation.

“While it wants that [Olympic] organisers should drop Dow Chemical’s as sponsor of the Games, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) which is under the Agriculture Ministry, held a seminar last month which was sponsored by Dow.”

Malhotra also claimed that the Sports Ministry were fanning the flames of talk of a boycott without understanding what the consequences could be.

“I am surprised at Sports Ministry’s attitude,” he said. “While IOA want to cooperate with it on this issue they are playing politics. Why they have not replied to our letters is also open to interpretation. 

“The selective leaks in the media by the Sports Ministry are creating more problems. The IOC Charter is very clear and strict on such issue. The talk of selective boycott will have very serious repercussions and will ultimately boomerang.”

by Ismail Uddin