NSF chiefs hit out against Govt regulation

The Sports Ministry modified a 1975 regulation which seeks to end the prolonged reign of a number of politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats who have been running the NSFs for more than a decade.

The regulation means Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi and several NSF chiefs including VK Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (cycling), VK Verma (badminton) and BS Adityan (volleyball) cannot seek a re-election after their present term expires.

While Kalmadi could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, Malhotra termed the move as “ridiculous” and said IOA, of which he is also the senior vice-president, could go the Supreme Court if the Delhi High Court rules in favour of the government.
“It is a ridiculous decision. These guidelines first came out during emergency in 1975 and court had issued notice asking under what law the government was to implement them.
“They were never implemented and after 35 years they have been brought in now, that too in a year when India is hosting Commonwealth Games,” Malhotra said.
The regulation suggests NSF Presidents cannot continue beyond 12 years, with or without break, while a secretary or a treasurer can serve two terms of four years each and can seek a re-election only after taking a four-year break.

“I have spoken to Kalmadi and have asked to call an IOA Executive Committee or office bearers’ meeting very soon. It will be in two or three days’ time. I have suggested if Delhi High Court decides in favour of government IOA should go to Supreme Court,” he added.
Malhotra, who has been Archery Association of India chief for more than three decades, said India could face action from the International Olympic Council and Olympic Council of Asia if the Ministry order is implemented.

“IOC and OCA don’t allow government interference and may take action if they come to know this. Commonwealth Games Federation members are now here and it’s the most inopportune time to take the decision,” Malhotra said.
“It was a one-sided decision. The Ministry could have called all the NSFs to a meeting and then decide. It should be prerogative of the NSFs to decide on this,” Malhotra said.
Malhotra was aghast at the guideline that all members and officials of NSFs should retire at 70 years of age.

“In the name of good governance if the minister wants us above 70 years of age to retire then why is he (MS Gill) still minister?” he asked.
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader and Table Tennis Federation of India President Ajay Singh Chautala also criticised the regulation and said NSFs should be judged only by performance.

“Performance should be the sole criterion, not how long we have been in charge. Before introducing such regulations, the government should have looked at how the current federation is doing, how many medals we have won, how much progress we have made,” he said.

Former players and athletes, however, welcomed the regulation with athletics legend Milkha Singh calling it a step in the right direction.
“I think this is a step in the right direction. So far, neither IOA nor the NSFs cared about the 1975 regulation and this new modified clause would right the wrong. I think it would lead to a situation where better people would join administration and the standard of sports would rise,” he said.

Hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan felt the Ministry guideline would encourage former athletes to join sports administration.
PTI

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