Principal Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and its affiliated National sports federations on Saturday rejected outright the draft National Sports Policy saying it had several flaws that would force India out of international sporting arenas.

Drumming up unanimous support from all the affiliated federations in its fight against the Union Sports Ministry and the draft policy, IOA President Suresh Kalmadi said that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had shown its concern.

IOC letter expected

“We are expecting a letter from the IOC in support of our stand against the draft National Sports Policy, which is aimed at undermining the Olympic Charter,” said Mr. Kalmadi.

“If the policy, which is also aimed at putting in place a sports regulatory authority, is forced on the National sports federations then there is every chance that India might be banned from participating in multi-sport events such as Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games,” he added.

Ever since the draft policy was put on the web to seek opinions from all quarters, the IOA has managed to get letters of support from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

Voice vote passed

The IOA meeting, attended by representatives of 44 federations, passed by a voice vote the proposal put forth by Mr. Kalmadi to oppose the draft 2007 National Sports Policy and its recommendations. “We want to continue with the 2001 National Sports Policy as it was prepared with our consultation,” the IOA President said.

The sports bodies were also unanimous in their opposition to the proposal to put sports in the Concurrent List. “In the days of de-centralisation, the Sports Ministry is trying to control sports and dry up the funds the State Governments have been allocating,” said K.P. Singh Deo, Chairman of the IOA Sports Commission.

Utopian thesis

He described the draft policy as a ‘well-drafted thesis, which is very ambitious, utopian and totally experimental’. Through the proposed sports policy, the Sports Ministry is daydreaming and creating an authority without responsibility, said Mr. Singh Deo.

The draft policy talks about keeping athletes at the centre-stage of all the plans, but the entire policy was silent about how it would go about doing it, he said.

Citing some of the recent instances of the hurdles created by the Sports Ministry, the Secretary of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), M.C. Chowhan, said several sports federations had been penalised by not releasing the sanctioned grants for foreign tours by asking them to submit utilisation certificates for the international tours that were held 15-17 years ago.

Mr. Chowhan said the Sports Ministry was trying to squeeze every sports federation of the funds before they sign on the dotted lines in support of the draft policy. He said he had a letter from the ministry saying it had misplaced the old files and now wanted the federation to submit the utilisation certificates again.

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