IOA upset with Ministry

IOA upset with Ministry

Deferring SA Games would be a standing shame

The Sports Ministry has asked Indian Olympic Association to defer the South Asian Games to second half of 2014 but IOA acting president VK Malhotra on Thursday reacted strongly saying postponing the event at this stage will be a “standing shame” for the country.

 

IOA, which is to host these Games by virtue of rotation, had decided to conduct the event in the capital in January 2013 and had also sought Government’s approval for it.

However in a surprise move, the Sports Ministry has written a letter to IOA, asking it to defer the Games to 2014.   “There are number of factors which preclude the possibility of hosting the Games before second half of 2014. It would not be possible to hold the Games during 2012 as it is the year of Olympic Games,” the letter said.

“Thereafter, in 2013, due to elections to the Delhi Assembly, the model code of conduct would come into force and hence there may be administrative difficulties in holding the Games in 2013 in Delhi.

“Incidentally the year 2014 also happens to be the year of general elections to the Lok Sabha. As such India would be in a position to hold the Games only after the elections are held i.e second half of 2014,” the letter added.

However, IOA on Thursday strongly reacted to the government suggestions with Malhotra saying that the reasons given by the sports ministry were “laughable”. “The reason put forth by the Sports ministry to defer the Games for another year and half are laughable,” Malhotra said in a statement.

“This is part of the SAG charter that every member country has to conduct the Games as per rotation. IOA has scheduled the Games for January/ February 2013 while the Assembly Elections are due in September/ October, so there is no question of the violation of Model Code of Conduct,’’ he added.

Malhotra recalled it was the Government which had put pressure on the IOA to host these Games and since 2010 the sports ministry officials had several meeting with IOA in these regard.

He said the Delhi Government was very keen to hold the Games but now this letter from the Sports Ministry has created confusion and uncertainty.

“I had written to the Prime Minister after he returned from SAARC meeting in Maldives late last year about these Games,” he said, adding that “the Prime minister’s office in response had suggested that IOA should hold meeting with the Delhi Government and Sports Ministry regarding the conduct of the Games and then come back to it.”

“Because deferring the Games till 2014 is neither feasible nor possible, I urge the Delhi government to take up this matter with the Union Government,” he said.

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