India must be given a chance to save Commonwealth Games

Whenever a city or a nation bids for a major sports event, the issue of legacy is one of the key elements that the assessors and voting members use to consider whether a bid is worthy of their support.

As FIFA have said of England's 2018 World Cup bid, it's actually pretty easy to give England the tournament, because while there can be some transport and accommodations improvements and expansion, essentially England could host the event tomorrow.

But from a commercial and a development point of view, giving major sports competitions to nations who have not hosted events on such as scale before has a major impact on the future of their people.

The natives have a sense of pride at being worthy of staging said events; the infrastructure is improved; and marketers and corporations find new audiences to talk and sell to.

After the atrocities in Mumbai less than two years ago and the proximity to alleged terrorism training camps in Pakistan, of course there are security concerns.

I was in Poona a couple of years ago, which held the Commonwealth Youth Games and even then, things were not as slick as one might hope. The fact that a terrorist bomb killed nine people in a cafe there earlier this years hardly inspires confidence.

India has had something of a PR disaster in the past week with only a few days to go until the Commonwealth Games which was supposed to underline the development of a nation that has been tipped as the next major economic superpower.

The condition of the athletes' village, the collapse of both a bridge that left more than 20 people injured and the ceiling at the weightlifting arena hardly inspire confidence.

Rumours of corruption and incompetence at all levels in India have been underlined by the failure to have everything finished on time - and the use of child construction labour as photographed last week serves to convince the doubters that the Slumdog Millionaire toil for India's youth is not fiction.

But I seem to remember problems with construction of venues and suchlike ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and while the buildings have now largely been allowed to fall into decay, the event itself was a huge success.

While Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, and the Indian Organising Committee and government finger point, nothing positive will be achieved.

Yes, if Hooper's requests to speed up construction were ignored, he has a right to be frustrated, but now is not the time to be trying to shift the blame.

The CWGF, the Indian government and the Organising Committee must do everything they can to ensure all facilities are finished to the high standard that is expected - while the media will no doubt look for anything to give the story a new negative twist.

Hooper and the head of the Organising Committee have to work together and speak together to get these Games back on track: they need to work as a team.

All is not lost for India.

Credibility may be shredded and there is no use trying to gloss over the concerns, but if the two of them talk about what is being done to rectify the situation and hold their hands up about mistakes being made and lessons learnt, they will gain far more trust from the public and the athletes who are still in two minds whether to run up or not.

India needs to build a legacy that uses sport to help the nation's young and old to lead healthier, more positive lives that the hosting of an international sports event can promote.

That comes with post-event investment as much as anything else, ensuring the facilities are available to the poorest sports enthusiasts.

By making the 2010 Commonwealth Games the safe and secure festival of sport that they are meant to be, India can reclaim some of the confidence that seems to have been lost.