After IOC, OCA turns heat on Sports Ministry

In a letter addressed to Sports Minister MS Gill, OCA Director General Husain Al-Musallam lashed out at the Ministry for its "personal attack" on Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary General Randhir Singh, who also happens to be the OCA Secretary.

"...any form of interference in the autonomy or independence functioning of the NOC (National Olympic Committee) or National Sports Federations (NSFs) will not be accepted by the OCA and may result in strict penalties as per the OCA constitution," Al-Musallam wrote.

Sports Ministry's  guidelines seeking to limit the tenure of the sports administrators in the country have snowballed into a major controversy. The administrators maintain NSFs are governed only by the Olympic Charter and government cannot infringe on their autonomy.

International Olympic Council and OCA are supporting the NSF chiefs and the Sports Ministry is now seeking a meeting with IOC President Jacques Rogge to sort out the issue.

IOA, on its part, has authorised Randhir to deal with the matter in the IOC but the Ministry sees a conflict of interest in Randhir being the secretary of both OCA and IOA, apart from being an IOC member from India.

Al-Musallam sprang in Randhir's defence and said he was dismayed by the attack on him.
"I"m extremely dismayed...his (Randhir Singh's) knowledge, wisdom and commitment to the Olympic Movement have been exemplary. He has always strove to maintain a fine balance between various arms of the Olympic Movement and has acted as bridge between the NOCs of Asia, OCA and international sporting organisations.""Therefore, any such attack on him personally will not be accepted and entertained by the OCA," Al-Musallam wrote.

The Sports Ministry should try to take all the NSFs along and work as a team, he said.
"...we have always maintained that a strong and harmonious relationship should be maintained with the governmental organisations in order to carry out sports development work in the respective countries. I would therefore strongly recommend that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports should take all the local sports organisations into confidence and work as one team for the development of sports," he said.
Reacting to the letter, sources in the Sports Ministry said there was no change in the policy to promote autonomy of the sports federations and that the government was going full swing preparing for the Commonwealth Games scheduled here in October.
"As already stated again and again, Government endeavours are focused for timely preparations for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, a month later," a source said.

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