Greed drives many marathon organisers to cut corners: NGO

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PETALING JAYA: Lucrative returns of hundreds of thousand ringgit from organising marathons has drawn dozens of private companies to capitalise on the sport in recent years.

However, runners who pay a fee to join the marathons will be stumped to learn that the events run by private companies might be illegal under the Sports Development Act 1997 (SDA) and if not sanctioned by the Sports Commissioners Officer (SCO).

Selangor Athletic Association (SAA) vice-president K. Yogasvaran told theSun that private companies behind these marathons often avoided seeking approval from the SCO due to the fees involved.

“There are sanction fees as the government sports agencies ensure measures are taken not compromise the safety of runners in the event. However, these companies try to cut corners to reap a bigger profits. Apart from the fees received from participants, they receive sponsorship of items such as t-shirts and consumer products from the big brands. They minimise on manpower and this leads to safety being compromised. In every run there has to be traffic marshals who monitor the participants to ensure they are safe at all times,” said Yogasvaran who was a former national middle-distance runner and SEA Games medallist in the 70s.

A lawyer who specialises in litigation involving sports told theSun that since Sunday’s event was not sanctioned by the SCO, there is basis for the injured runners to institute legal action against the organisers to seek compensation for non-adherence of participant safety during the event.

“There cannot be a disclaimer clause that states “run at your own risk” in events like this. If there is, then it is invalid. Those affected have good grounds to take legal action against the organisers if the race is deemed illegal and there was non-compliance to safety regulations,” he said.

North Klang police chief ACP Mazelan Paijan said apart from investigations on the accident, police have initiated a separate probe on the organisers on learning they had not obtained a permit to hold the event.

“They had requested for traffic police personnel to assist in traffic flow but we have discovered now that it was not an SCO-approved race. We have directed the organisers to provide us with the relevant documents for our investigations. We also hope the SCO will lodge a formal police report so that we can carry out a more thorough investigation into the case,” he told theSun today.





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