The head of private security firm G4S said on Saturday his firm only realised just over a week ago it would not be able to supply enough venue guards for this month's London Olympics, as he publicly apologised for the embarrassing failure.
The day after G4S said it would incur a loss of up to 50 million pounds ($77.7 million), its chief executive Nick Buckles hit the airwaves and TV studios to express remorse for the problem which has forced the British government to put 3,500 extra troops on standby to fill the gap.
"We are bitterly disappointed and we certainly are very sorry for what's happened over the last week or two," Buckles told BBC TV.
On Thursday, the government said it would deploy additional troops after it became clear G4S was unlikely to provide the expected 10,400 guards it was contracted to do because of problems processing applicants.
Buckles said the FTSE 100-listed company, whose shares have fallen in the past 24 hours to their lowest level for almost a month, realised there would be a shortfall only "eight or nine days ago".
"Clearly we aren't going to deliver on our element (of the security operation) and we're very, very disappointed about that and embarrassed," he said.
He said at the moment they had 4,000 trained guards in place with another 9,000 in the pipeline.
The failure has dominated news headlines in Britain with the Games starting in less than two weeks, on July 27, and many of those recruited by G4S have contacted the media to say the recruitment and training process had been a shambles.
"They have been hiding behind a 'need-to-know basis' and saying they do not want to tell people what is happening because it is a security threat," a would-be G4S employee, who has had two weeks' training on X-ray scanning equipment, told Reuters.
"But, in essence, they just do not know."
Security has always been a major issue for organisers and a source of great concern for the government.