Economy

Pressure mounting on London Olympic Games panel to drop £7 m deal with Dow Chemical

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 12, 2018




Pressure on the organisers of London's 2012 Olympic Games - LOCOG - is mounting, over a sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals for a wrap around the main Olympic Stadium.

On the 27th anniversary of the disaster at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, a growing number of senior British politicians, including 30 MPs, are calling on Lord Coe, the Chairman of LOCOG, to drop the £7-million sponsorship deal. The movement has now garnered cross party support, with Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs putting their name to a letter demanding that they review the decision to give Dow Chemicals the tender for the wrap around the main stadium.

The decision to pick Dow Chemicals in a public tender in August was a “stain on the ambitions of the Olympics,” said the letter. Among the signatures is Mr Barry Gardiner, Chair of Labour Friends of India; Mr Keith Vaz, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee; Mr Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Mr Ken Livingston, the Labour candidate for Mayor London.

US academic Noam Chomsky, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr Shivraj Singh Chauhan, director Shekhar Kapur, actor Martin Sheen, US Gold Medal winner Mel Stewart, Pakistan Olympic Gold medallist Akhtar Rasool, and a large number of Indian Gold medallists have also signed the letter.

The Olympic Games risked being tainted by the utterly ‘unacceptable' decision to choose Dow Chemicals. “We will certainly be looking at the possibility of a legal challenge,” said Mr Livingstone at a press conference in London. “If we can't afford a wrap for the stadium I'd rather not have one than have one contaminated by the death of 25,000 people.”

“I am satisfied that at no time did Dow operate, own or were involved with the plant, either at the time of the disaster or, crucially, at the time that the full and final settlement was made,” Lord Coe told a House of Commons committee in November, when pressed on the issue. “There are ongoing issues, absolutely there are ongoing issues, and they are with the Indian Government and they are with the state of Madhya Pradesh, who were the owners of the land.”

As part of the British Government's austerity drive, plans for a multi-million pound wrap for the £500-million main stadium were abandoned last year, but in February the London Organising Committee, LOCOG, announced it was looking for investment from the private sector. A tender followed, and Dow was picked to make the £7-million 336 panel, 25-m-high wrap for the 80,000-seat stadium.

While Dow won't be able to display its logo from a month before the Games begin, it will have the option to do so while the wrap is being installed, as well as during test events.

The news came several months after Dow signed a 10-year sponsorship deal with the International Olympic Committee.

Published on December 02, 2011

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