IOA EC meeting slated for May 18; Gill defends timing of decision

Miffed administrators, many of whom are politicians who have occupied posts for more than a decade, made it clear that they would oppose the directive, setting the stage for a bitter stand-off with the Sports Ministry. “We are surprised by the government order and we will do everything to protect our autonomy. It is draconian order which questions the very basis of the autonomy of IOA and the NSFs. We reject the brazen attempt by Sports Ministry to challenge our autonomy,” Kalmadi told reporters.

“We have called an IOA Executive Committee meeting on May 18 and may convene a General Assembly meeting as well (to discuss the issue).”

Cracking down on sports administrators who have monopolised most of the NSFs, the Sports Ministry on Sunday announced a new regulation which says federation presidents cannot continue for more than 12 years, with or without break, while secretaries or treasurers can serve two terms of four years at a stretch and would have to take a four-year gap before they seek a re-election.

The regulation hurts Kalmadi, who has been at the IOA’s helm since 1996, while it also seeks to end the reigns of NSF chiefs VK Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (cycling), VK Verma (badminton), captain Satish K Sharma (aero club) and BS Adityan (volleyball), who have been occupying the top posts for more than a decade.

Insisting that the autonomy of the IOA and NSFs were paramount, a defiant Kalmadi said, “Our constitution goes to the International Olympic Council (IOC) and no one can meddle with that. All NSFs also send their constitution to the respective international bodies and no one can interfere there either.”

He said Sports Minister MS Gill had no business to issue the order at a time all the sports officials were focussing on the Commonwealth Games and CWG Coordination Commission was having a meeting here till Wednesday.

“The timing of the order amazed us. We completely disagree with the hostile approach of the Ministry on the eve of the meeting of Coordination Commission of the Commonwealth Games. The Games are just 150-odd days away and at this juncture, the Sports Minster thought it right to issue such an order. We were really amazed at,” said the IOA chief.

“CoCom members were, in fact, surprised at what has been happening. It did not do any good to the country,” he added.

Kalmadi also dismissed Gill’s assertion that the guideline would help bring transparency to the functioning of IOA and NSFs.
“As far as transparency is concerned, IOA was brought under RTI (Right To Information) Act by the Ministry and we accepted it with a smile because we have nothing to hide.”

Kalmadi also challenged the Ministry’s assertion that if the guidelines were not complied with, NSFs would not be allowed to send teams to participate in international events.

“It is the IOA that gets invitations to send teams for Olympic Games, Commonwealth Gam-es and Asian Games. International federations invite NSFs and not the Sports Ministry to send teams for India. The athletes’ entries have to be signed by duly elected presidents or secretaries of NSFs for them to be accepted by international federations,” he said.

Gill defends move
Sports Minister Gill said the new guidelines were not aimed at any individual and also defended the timing of the announcement. “That has nothing to do with this. The Games are separate. I have no problem with anybody. I tried to do the job and that is what I am paid for,” Gill said.

Gill added that people were entitled to their opinion. “Nothing upsets me. It is a free country. Everybody has a right to comment on whatever is done by government or a minister or a ministry,” he said.
PTI

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