London 2012 Organizers Object to Indian Opposition of Dow Sponsorship

By Community | March 22, 2012

India’s Sports Minister Ajay Maken has admitted London 2012 organisers have launched an objection to Indian opposition to Dow Chemical’s controversial sponsorship of the Olympics.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have been involved in a campaign for the American company to be dropped as an Olympic sponsor because of its link to Union Carbide, whose Indian subsidiary ran a pesticide plant in Bhopal at which a gas leak allegedly killed up to 25,000 people in 1984.  

But the issue has only really heated up since Dow stepped in last year and agreed to a £7 million ($11 million) deal to sponsor the wrap around the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. 

India did not publicly protest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when Dow were unveiled as a worldwide sponsor nearly two years ago, which London 2012 officials have made clear in a letter to the Indian High Commission in Britain.

“Through diplomatic channels, LOCOG (the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games) raised two key objections to our raising the Dow issue,” admitted Maken. 

“First they asked why the IOA had not raised the Dow issue when the agreement was finalised in July 2010, and second how could the IOA object when it had done business with the company during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.”

Dow had supplied insulation material, sold under the brand Styrofoam, for the construction of the Athletes’ Village when the Commonwealth Games were staged in New Delhi, it has been revealed following a freedom of information request in India.

But Maken insisted that they would continue to object to Dow’s involvement in the Olympics, although he priomised that India would not boycott the Games over the controversy.

“We have not thought of pulling the athletes out of the London Games,” he said. 

“We are monitoring the issue and we have conveyed our concerns to the IOC on Dow’s sponsorship bearing in mind the sentiments of the people.”