The Badminton Association of India is set to amend its constitution to affiliate clubs and individuals when it holds its Special General Meeting in Mumbai on August 31.
In a letter addressed to all the affiliates of the sport’s governing body in the country, the BAI General Secretary Vijai Sinha said: “The Government of India issued the Sports Code in which the affiliation of the Clubs and the individuals (without voting rights) is must.
“Therefore, in light of the Sports Code issued by the Govt of India, this amendment is required.”
However, the National Sports Development Code of India 2011, under Annexure II, Clause 3.9, states: “The membership of the Federation should be confined to the corresponding State/UT and other special units affiliated (like Sports Control Boards etc.) and where Federation grant membership to individual clubs or individual persons, such membership does not confer on such members the right to vote in any of the Federation's meetings.”
Since it is not mandatory for any federation to affiliate individual clubs or persons, the proposed amendment is being seen with apprehension within several state associations.
The BAI President Akhilesh Das Gupta said: “It is not mandatory to affiliate individuals or clubs. But this clause allows us to invite eminent persons who are lovers of the game, former champions and players to be part of the BAI.
“The idea is to involve badminton lovers like Sunil Gavaskar, or say, Aamir Khan, with the BAI.
“Since the membership is honorary in nature and without voting rights, I don’t think there should be any opposition to the proposal.”
The opposition, in fact, is from Delhi Badminton Association Secretary S.P. Singh coming out in the open against the proposed amendments.
In a letter to all the BAI affiliates, Singh says: “By carrying out the amendments, we foresee a repeat of happenings in Delhi (in April), where the BAI President floated a parallel state association for the appeasement of his political friends. Now he wants to increase his clout in BAI in an unconstitutional manner by misinterpreting the Govt’s Sports Code.”
Unperturbed, Mr. Das Gupta maintained that the membership would be offered to country’s select clubs.
“The players from these clubs will have to play the selection tournaments in the states and qualify to play in the National championship.”
It remains to be seen how these amendments help the game.