London, Nov 16 : London Olympics chairman Lord Coe has defended a decision to sign a sponsorship deal with the Dow Chemical Company, saying the company’s legal battles with Indian families affected by the Bhopal gas tragedy would not damage the reputation of next year’s sporting event.
Dow Chemical Company has been given sponsorship for the seven million pound fabric curtain that will encircle the Olympic Stadium.
The move has outraged campaigners fighting for the 25,000 people who died in Bhopal’s devastating chemical leak in 1984.
Responding to suggestions that the Games could face a boycott from Indian athletes over the issue, Lord Coe said before the culture, media and sport select committee that he had not heard anything to that effect from the Indian Olympic Committee, with which he had been in dialogue.
Coe, whose grandfather was from India, said he was “satisfied with the process and satisfied with the history”.
“I am aware of the size and scale. I am the grandson of an Indian so I''m not completely unaware of this as an issue. But I am satisfied that at no time did Dow operate, own or were involved with the plant at the time of the disaster or the time of the full and final settlement,” the Guardian quoted Coe, as saying.
Meanwhile, Dow said it was “proud” to sponsor the IOC, pointing out that its relationship with the Olympics dated back to 1980, and to support Locog’s plans for the stadium wrap.
“Regarding Bhopal, the 1984 Union Carbide Bhopal incident was a terrible tragedy that none of us in the industry will ever forget. However, it is disappointing that some people are trying to assign blame and responsibility to Dow,” the company said. (ANI)