The Union Sports Ministry has given the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) time till Thursday to submit details of its proposals to bid for the 2019 Asian Games.
In its latest Games-bidding spree, even as Delhi struggles to cope with the demands of hosting the Commonwealth Games, the IOA had shown an interest in bidding for the 2019 Asiad and had announced that it was yet to get approval from the Government that was a “must.”
The ministry, in its letter dated July 4, noted that media reports had stated that the IOA had already submitted its bid by the deadline (June 30) and had done so in anticipation of receiving letter of support from the Delhi Government/Government of India.
“It may kindly be noted that the Government cannot be presented with a fait accompli in a matter that involves such a major national decision,” the ministry has written.
“Such serious decision has to follow a process. If they (IOA) are serious then they should come up with a comprehensive bid document, put it up before their general assembly before submitting the proposal to the Government,” said the Sports Minister, M.S. Gill, on Tuesday.
Gill said that his ministry would need to consult the Finance and Home ministries as well as the Planning Commission and also get the view of the Delhi Government before going to the Cabinet for approval.
Despite several reminders since April 30, the ministry says the IOA had not been able to submit a comprehensive document to support its bid.
In its reply on June 4 the IOA stated that it had approved the bid at its general assembly on December 7 last year. More than four months later it contacted the government with a brief e-mailed request for a letter of support!
So far the IOA has submitted its (abortive) bid document for the 2014 Asian Games along with an informal estimate of the Guangzhou Asian Games scheduled in November this year.
The Guangzhou Games budget estimates show an expenditure of $420 million and a revenue of $450 million.
The IOA has also been asked to justify the choice of Delhi as the host city when it had failed in its bids for the 2006 and 2014 Games.
The ministry also wants to know whether the 2019 Asiad, if allotted, would be at no cost to Government since the IOA had written that it would desist from receiving Government funds. Even for the bidding process the IOA would need money.
Sources of funding
The ministry wants to know, among other points, the sources of funding for the submission of the bid amount and guarantee money, of $10,000 with application, $1,90,000 within 60 days of allotment and $1 million as refundable guarantee within one month after signing the host city contract in case India wins the bid.
The ministry has also pointed out the not-so-satisfactory performance of the country in the Asian Games and sought to know what plans the IOA had for putting up a commendable performance in 2019.
India was sixth in the medals tally in the Doha Asiad in 2006 with a total of 28 medals including six gold medals.
As for the costs of hosting multi-discipline Games, at the time of bidding for the Commonwealth Games, just 82 days away, the IOA had projected a budget of $422 million (Rs. 1,930 crore) in 2003. The current sanctioned budget stands at Rs. 10,445 crore excluding expenditure for Metro and the new airport apart from a few other heads.
The Commonwealth Games will have 17 disciplines while the Asian Games in 2019 could have more than 40. The Guangzhou Games will have 42.
It has been proved quite convincingly in the case of the Commonwealth Games that the IOA's budget estimates and revenue expectations can go completely awry.