The executive committee of the Mediterranean Games (CIJM) has sharply criticized Algeria for the bad organization of the Oran 2022 event and demanded an official apology on the part of the host country.
This came in an official letter of protest addressed by the CIJM Secretary General, Iakovos Filippousis, to the President-Commissioner of the Organizing Committee of the Mediterranean Games-Oran 2022, Aziz Derouaz.
For Iakovos Filippousis, these JM of Oran, were an “extremely negative and for some, even traumatic” experience and in this sense, the Executive Committee of the Mediterranean Games considers it as a “minimum obligation” on the part of the Algerian Organizing Committee to “apologize formally and as soon as possible to all those who have suffered the most”.
Since the start of these Mediterranean Games in Oran, scandals have resounded in several countries which have denounced an organization “unworthy” of these games. Upon their arrival, the delegations found no communication or press officer to guide them and ensure that their stay unfolds well.
Several European delegations from around the Mediterranean left Algeria after they realized the poor conditions in which they would have to play. Actually, athletes competing in some disciplines did not have access to training spaces, and when available, these spaces were located 40 km far away for the stay premises.
In its protest letter, the CIJM mentioned “the absence of any sports facilities within the Olympic Village”, which are essential for the training of athletes and spare them wasting several hours in uncomfortable transport and in traffic jams to reach the stadiums.
The letter also noted that the participating delegations criticized the quality of the meals served and therefore requested that their respective countries send them food.
In the letter, Secretary General Iakovos Filippousis used a critical and ironic tone, underlining that the “efforts” promised in the scenario of the Games were actually empty promises.
“In the name of the President, the Executive Committee and the entire Mediterranean family, I would like to express our relative “satisfaction” with the effort made in the scenario and the presentation of the opening ceremony of the 19th Mediterranean Games, punctuated by sound cuts and rough choreography,” he said at the start of the letter.
The general impression at the international level is that this ceremony was only the face of an outward communication, he continued.
The Mediterranean Games “have not been well highlighted and certain countries have been removed from the map of the Mediterranean basin”, lamented the Secretary General, who highlighted “the significant and fundamental organizational shortcomings, which have created extremely negative impressions among members of the Mediterranean family and provoked strong reactions.”
Iakovos Filippousis cited the transport plan, which “was a total failure”, explaining that it prevented around sixty people from the ICMG executive committee, presidents and general secretaries of the Olympic committees and International Federations, as well as other distinguished guests from the Mediterranean family to arrive at the stadium on time for the opening ceremony.
“They were only able to find refuge there after many hours, and after they had been seriously threatened in their safety in front of the entrance doors, and without having been able to attend the ceremony”, added the CIJM official, specifying that these people should have a preferential entry route and that they are women, children, elderly and vulnerable people.
“This is an unacceptable and unprecedented episode, which openly offends the CIJM and the Mediterranean sports family”, he said, deploring “the unprecedented total absence of volunteers, as well as the inability to provide for the basic needs of its members in terms of medical assistance, supply of drinking water, quality of food and water flow in the taps”.
He also mentioned the “unacceptable” entry refusal of several members of the international press, although accredited by the COJM, in reference to the treatment suffered by Moroccan journalists who were sequestered at the airport for 30 hours, and were prevented from accessing Algerian territory.
These Oran Games were an “extremely negative and for some, even traumatic” experience and in this sense, the Executive Committee of the Mediterranean Games considers it as a “minimum obligation” on the part of the Algerian Organizing Committee to “apologize formally and as soon as possible to all those who have suffered the most.”
“We request your commitment that all shortcomings be taken care of immediately, so that the Algerian Organizing Committee can at least respect its contractual obligations.