The wrangling as to who is at fault for the closure of Africa Village – the hospitality centre set up by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) for the majority of African nations competing in the Olympic Games – continues.
The village, situated in Kensington Gardens, was closed last week before its expected 13 August end date due to unpaid debts.
According to ANOCA, it is not to blame. In a statement, the association said: “The closure is consequent on a dispute between a French enterprise and some English companies. ANOCA has demonstrated all necessary goodwill by making payments for transactions in which we were not at all involved and in doing our possible best to assist the English companies. We wish to make it clear that ANOCA reserves the right to seek redress for damages caused to our public image and to the exhibitors who were even barred access to the exhibition ground for the entire morning period (9 August).”
ANOCA stated that the French company in question was Pixcom, which is based in Boulogne-Billancourt just southwest of Paris. According to The Guardian, Pixcom released a statement in French that hinted that the money in question was a relatively minor sum. Its chairman Alain Barbier was quoted as saying that “it is clear that this premature closure means real damage which will require appropriate consequences for those who bear the heavy responsibility for the closure of the site.”
However, the BBC claims that it was told that the figure in question was £395k, although no party central to the dispute has itself stated a definite number.
Among those allegedly owed is tent and temporary structure supplier Mar-Key Group based in Christchurch, Dorset. In a statement on its website, chairman David Tabb said: “Significant promised funds have not been forthcoming and the company has no option but to use legal force as required to ensure the correct outcome for the company and its employees. We all hope that this action will help to guarantee funds and that The Village can reopen promptly.”
Pictured: Africa Village