The water suppliers at the centre of Sheffield’s half marathon cancellation farce have spoken out against organisers of the event.
THE STORY SO FAR:
In a statement released today, suppliers Water Direct have pointed the finger at Sheffield Marathons for not providing an expected payment and have said that led to the delivery not being made.
The suppliers have confirmed that an order was placed with them on 21 March for the provision of the temporary drinking water tanks and were expecting a payment in full for the supply in advance of delivery.
“It is the payment that confirms the contract and triggers our process of scheduling the assets for delivery. In the absence of that payment, despite our reminding them [Sheffield Marathon Limited] of the need to pay, the scheduling did not occur,” says the statement.
Water Direct have also criticised the marathon organisers for the way they have handled the media response following the cancellation.
Keith Silcock, Managing Director of Water Direct told Event Industry News: “we had been trying to work with the organisers on a coordinated media response that would try and save them from the embarrassment of having to disclose the issues around payment.
“Despite those efforts, representatives from the organising committee have decided to make comments on the radio, prompting us to respond with our own revised statement.”
Robert Jackson, chairman of trustees for the marathon organisers, told The Star: “This is the dispute that exists between the two. We are saying we were never told that we had to pay in advance.
“We could have paid, we were in a position to pay. We believed we could pay afterwards and not before. We are saying we were not reminded.”
Water Direct's statement in full:
“Water Direct has specialised in the provision of quality assured drinking water since 1996 and we have established an unrivalled track record for quality assurance and successful delivery, including supporting many major water emergencies.
“We refute the comments being made by the organisers of the Sheffield Half Marathon and in the media that we let them down by failing to deliver the water to this event. We have been trying since Sunday to get the organisers to communicate with us before we responded fully to media enquiries but have so far received few and mixed messages from different members of the organising committee.
“We quoted them for the provision of temporary drinking water tanks, a similar service to that provided to them for the last two years. After amending their requirements a number of times they did indeed place an order on 21st March accepting our offer, the terms of which, as always, clearly state that full payment is required in advance of delivery. It is the payment that confirms the contract and triggers our process of scheduling the assets for delivery. In the absence of that payment, despite our reminding them of the need to pay, the scheduling did not occur.
“We have carried out our own internal investigations into the circumstances leading to this dreadful situation and have been expecting the organisers to do the same. As a result we have reviewed our processes and implemented improvements. We have offered our support to the organisers, who we trust will be examining their own processes to establish why payment was not made on time to ensure delivery of such an essential service.
“As a gesture of goodwill we have already offered our support to the organisers, one of these being our commitment to provide all the water services free next year. Also, in recognition of all the hard work of participants and the people of Sheffield in preparing for this race, and the frustration and disappointment of all involved by the decision to cancel it, we are currently considering further aspects of support over which we are trying to liaise with the Trustees.”