By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

August 12 - Fast Track, the company founded by Britain's Olympic silver medallist and former London 2012 vice-chairman Alan Pascoe (pictured), were today the latest organisation to be dragged into the growing corruption scandal overshadowing the build-up to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

A report released by India's Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) claimed that choosing London-based Fast Track Sales Ltd as a consultant resulted in the revenue loss of more than £3 million ($4.6 million) in sales of Games broadcast rights.

But Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief executive Mike Hooper stronlgy defended the selection, claiming that Fast Track were chosen to sell the worldwide broadcasting rights on merit.

"Fast Track has great success record and was recommended on the basis of good record," said Hooper.

"The deal process is one the Organising Committee decides on.

"The Organising Committee went through a bidding process."

The report by the CAG, who audit all receipts and expenditure of Government-financed agencies, has claimed no detailed technical evaluation of the bidders was carried out and Fast Track was chosen only on the basis of suggestions of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, CGF President Mike Fennell and Hooper.

It follows allegations last month that British-based company AM Films received £250,000  ($399,000) for helping arrange logistics for the Queen's Baton Relay in London without having a contract being agreed.

The revelation has led to the suspension of several key officials at the Delhi Organising Committee.

The report also claimed that Fast Track wanted a 15 per cent commission while the other bidder, Melbourne-based Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM) wanted only 12.5 per cent commission.

SMAM already had the contract to raise sponsorship but had it terminated last week after Indian Railways, the Games' biggest backers, complained that money meant for the event was being used to pay the Australian firm commission, an allegation denied.

Fast Track was founded by Pascoe, a member of the British 4x400 metres relay team that won silver medals at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, and has grown into one of Britain's most respected and successful sports marketing companies.

Pascoe, who won the gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, played an important role in London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Fast Track, whose major clients include BT, IHG, Sainsbury's and UK Athletics, are now part of the Chime Group, who brought them in 2007 for £15 million ($23 million).

Pascoe is now the chairman of the company while Jon Ridgeon (pictured), the 1987 world 110m hurdles silver medallist and a former team-mate of London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, is the chief executive.

Hooper claimed that the CGF stood by its decision to recommend Fast Track and would do so again to future Games.

"Fast Track has an enviable record of success, and has received ringing endorsements from others for the outstanding work that it has done in the past, including from the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, who confirmed its 'outstandingly successful' relationship with Fast Track 'surpassed our dreams' and 'not only met, but exceeded, all of our targets'," said Hooper.

"The CGF notes the comments today of Dr. Lalit Bhanot, the Secretary General of the 2010 Organising Committee, similarly in support of Fast Track’s appointment, that 'Fast Track has almost doubled the revenue we targeted'."

Hooper added that the federation was more concerned about the venues being ready in time for the Games, which are due to be opened by Prince Charles on October 3.

"I think we have been very clear with all the communication related to the Games," he said.

"Mr Fennell and I will be visiting the venues next week.

"A lot of finishing work needs to be done by various agencies such as Organising Committee and Delhi Government."

A spokesman for Fast Track told insidethegames: "We have nothing to add at this stage."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2010:
 Kalmadi writes to MPs to defend himself over Delhi corruption claims
August 2010: Queen in "cold fury" over Commonwealth Games scandal
August 2010: Commonwealth Games is my baby and I won't leave it says Kalmadi
August 2010: Delhi Commonwealth Games continues spiral into crisis
August 2010: Kalmadi aide resigns as treasurer of Delhi Organising Committee