London/New Delhi: DOW Chemicals has agreed to remove its logo from London’s Olympic stadium but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said that it is not satisfied with the move and wants US giant to remove its sponsorship from the 2012 Games.
DOW said it was agreeing to the “vision” of the 2012 Games by waiving its sponsorship rights to place its brand on a controversial fabric wrap for the stadium which was objected by campaigners furious at the US conglomerate’s links to the deadly Bhopal gas disaster.
Dow was made a sponsor of London 2012 by Lord Coe’s organising committee (Locog) in August.
The company has decided to withdraw its branding from a fabric wrap for the stadium. Reuters
“The agreement between Dow and Locog was limited to branding of five ‘test panels’ that were to be removed in the months before the Games and were not part of the final design,” Dow spokesman Scott Wheeler was quoted as saying by a British newspaper Sunday Express.
“In mid-summer, Locog and Dow discussed Dow deferring the rights to these five panels to allow free and full execution of the design as determined by Locog. Dow agreed to this to support Locog’s and London 2012′s vision for the stadium wrap,” he added.
Reacting to the report, IOA acting president VK Malhotra said he was not clear what exactly it meant and said the body would continue to press for total removal of Dow Chemical as a sponsor of the London Olympics.
“I have also heard about Dow chemical withdrawing their logo from the decorative wrap but I don’t know what it means,” Malhotra told PTI.
“Our demand is that Dow should be removed as a sponsor and we have expressed strong reservation with the Olympics. We are sending our communication to Dow as well as IOC on this regard.”
“So all that we want is that it should be removed as a sponsor and we wint be satisfied if only the logo is removed,” he added.
Amid growing resentment over Dow Chemicals’ association with the London Olympics, the Indian Olympic Association’s Executive Board had decided last week to write a “strong” protest letter to the International Olympic Committee, seeking the removal of the company as a sponsor of the Games next year.
Labour MP Barry Gardiner, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on India, said: “This decision at last indicates Dow is showing some shame and that can only be positive.”
Keith Vaz, senior Labour MP and chairman of the British Home Affairs Select Committee, had earlier demanded that Dow withdraw from its contract to sponsor the wrap around the main stadium for the 2012 Olympics.
The company’s involvement with Olympics was questioned due to the responsibility and liability of its subsidiary, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), in the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster.
Dow bought UCC in 2001 and denies responsibility for UCC’s liability in Bhopal.
However, Dow’s position was that it did not own Union Carbide at the time of the disaster and thus could not be held responsible for it.
Thousands of people lost their lives in the Bhopal gas disaster in December 1984, considered one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes, at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Madhya Pradesh’ after being exposed to methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals from the plant.
Union Sport Ministry sources today said that Dow had taken the decision only for the 2012 London Olympics.
“Dow has decided to not go ahead with the wrap outside London Olympics stadium. It is not the IOC but the Dow taking a decision and that too only for London Olympics and a special event,” the ministry source said.
“Credit should be given to government of India, Sport Ministry, and Ministry of Foreign affairs,” he added.
The sports ministry had written letters to the IOA, asking it to raise the Dow issue with the IOC, as in India, there is strong public sentiment against Dow being the sponsor of an international sporting event.
Dec 19, 2011