The Union Sports Ministry has continued to maintain its unrelenting stand on “good governance practices” in the functioning of the National Sports Federations (NSFs) despite opposition from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
With the Delhi High Court ruling in a few recent cases that the federations would not only follow their rules and by-laws but also the National Sports Code in conducting their elections, the ministry has been further encouraged to enforce strict compliance of government guidelines.
The latest NSF to come under the scrutiny of the ministry in relation to its elections is the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF).
The IABF had ignored a letter from the ministry, dated September 14 last, in amending its constitution and bringing in the post of chairman, to “accommodate” its outgoing president, Abhay Singh Chautala.
The letter also wanted the IABF to follow the model election guidelines in the sports code and noted that the federation had apparently not followed the guidelines.
At its annual general meeting at Patiala on September 23 last, the IABF nominated Chautala as its chairman, while electing Abhishek Matoria, an MLA from Rajasthan, as the new president.
In a letter dated October 15, the ministry has sought the following details, among others, from the IABF: the dates of birth of the members of the newly-elected Executive, the status of the new members in the previous Executive, how many athletes had been chosen in the current Executive and the minutes of the AGM.
Sources said on Friday the ministry would soon be writing to the IABF seeking to know whether a nominated chairman could have voting right in the federation.
Ministry not pleased
It is clear that the ministry is not pleased with the IABF circumventing the government guidelines while retaining the outgoing principal office-bearers who were not eligible to contest another term.
Chautala had completed three terms and was not eligible to contest as per the guidelines.
The guidelines bar an official from continuing in the president’s post beyond three terms. The other office-bearers may hold post for two terms of four years each. There is also an age bar of 70 in the government guidelines.
In the recent past, the ministry had taken uncompromising positions regarding elections to the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) forcing these federations to fall in line.
Yet, more and more federations are finding ways to circumvent the guidelines by creating posts like chairman, CEO etc so that the outgoing office-bearers could be accommodated to hold onto key functional posts.
The IOA’s petition against the National Sports Code is expected to come up before the Delhi High Court on November 8.