Defending himself after Sarah Peterson, who is Continental Manager for Rio 2016 Organising Committee threatened to cancel accreditation, Sports Minister Vijay Goel today said, “I am not aware of any problems that have been raised. If the issue is raised with me, I will look into it. I have not received any intimation that my behaviour has caused any problem.” In an interview to Times Now, Goel said, “Our team had won the match (hockey), and to cheer them is not a crime. That is what we are here for. I was asked for a pass, and I went back to get it. So I don’t see why it’s an issue. I don’t think our staff is causing any trouble.” “The biggest problem is of language, which is creating a lot of misunderstandings. I think that may have been the case. We are watching matches and we are boosting the morale of our players,” Goel went on to say. Asked about whether any problem ensued at the gymnastics events, Goel said, “What happened at the gymnatics venue? Did any fight or tussle happen? I didn’t see anything of this sort. If any incident of this sort is brought to our notice, we will look into it. How is the Sports Minister related to it? They have not complained about me in the letter. I think the issue is over. Chef-de-Mission should definitely talk about this.”
Peterson in a letter to Indian Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta is reported to have threatened to cancel Goel’s accreditation on grounds of misbehaviour and trying to enter venues with his entourage who don’t have valid passes. “We have had multiple reports of your Minister for Sports trying to enter accredited areas at venues with unaccredited individuals. When the staff try to explain that this is not allowed, they report that the people with the Minister have become aggressive and rude and sometimes push past our staff,” Peterson has said in the letter. “As you can understand, this type of behaviour is not acceptable. Despite previous warnings, it would seem that even today the same incident occurred at the Rio Olympic Arena (Gymnastics venue) and Carioca Arena 3,” she added.
Goel tweeted that rules were being duly followed. We are committed to the spirit of Olympics and back our Indian players, tweeted the Minister. However, there were many who took to slamming the minister and making fun of him on Twitter.