Will not tolerate mismanagement in federations: Rijiju

The Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said he will soon resign from his position as President of Arunachal Archery Association. (PTO Photo)

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday made it clear that he will not tolerate mismanagement of national federations and will take action if the interests of athletes are affected.

Some sports federations, including Archery Association of India (AAI) and Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI), have been experiencing factional feuds and Rijiju said his prime concern is to protect the interests of these sports and the players.

"Govt cannot intervene or intrude in the running of federations but we will not be a mute spectator if a sport is destroyed by mismanagement in any federation," Rijiju said during an interaction.

"It reflects upon us as a nation if there is a problem in a federation. If they run into conflict with international federations, then the government has to be consulted."

The two warring factions of AAI recently elected two presidents, forcing the World Archery to de-list the national federation as its member and warn it to either get its house in order by July 31 or face suspension.

"What happened in archery, there are certain directions given by the court and after that the two factions did something which is not proper. But whatever it may be, we will ask them to work in tandem with the court directive and the interest of the players should not suffer," Rijiju said.

The Sports Minister said he will soon resign from his position as President of Arunachal Archery Association.

"I am still archery association president (of Arunachal Pradesh) but now I will resign. I will ask the state unit to conduct a meeting and start the process of electing a new president."

Gymnastics does not have a government-recognised federation since 2012. There are two factions in GFI which have been de-recognised by the IOA.

Rijiju said: "I haven't seen in detail the issues of GFI but the factional issue within the sports bodies needs to be addressed. If a particular discipline is suffering because of problems in the federation, then we will take corrective steps. I don't want the gymnasts to suffer.

"Our sports secretary is already meeting with the federations one by one and I am planning to meet them soon. We are going to work together, we have to ensure the game does not suffer due to factions within sports bodies, that is my primary concern."

Talking about the increasing cases of doping in the country, Rijiju said: "Clean sport is one of the main ethos of Olympic charter. I can't spell out what steps I will take but when I have a clear cut idea we will take necessary steps.

"It is not only about policies, but it is also a question of facilities and availability of experts and management. We have to do some preparatory groundwork before I speak up. Give me some time and we will come up with better policies and steps."

Asked what are his expectations from Indian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, Rijiju said: "Olympic medal is something we should not predict. The target should be maximum medal but we can't predict. It is a pride of the nation to get even one medal, it is the biggest sporting extravaganza and it is not easy to perform.

"I don't want to leave anything in supporting the athletes. With the kind of preparation, I am very hopeful for the 2020 Olympics. We have just over a year and a year is a good time to re-look and ensure that all the preparation are well on course so that India produces best ever performance in the 2020 Olympics."

The Government's effort to take sports from the State List to the Concurrent List has been facing resistance.

Rijiju said: "Sports is a state subject and I think state governments should give special attention to sports. It is time that we have a conference with the sports ministers of all the states.

"Maybe after the Parliament session, I will have a meeting with them. All state Sports ministers need to be on board," he said, pointing out good work done by states such as Odisha and Haryana. 

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