Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all major National Sports Federations (NSFs) stayed away for a second time from a meeting convened by the Union Sports Ministry to discuss the draft National Sports Policy here on Wednesday.

The IOA had excused itself last time, on August 17, claiming that it needed more time to study the draft, but this time it informed the ministry that it was busy with the ‘one-year-to-go’ countdown of the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune. A special function has been scheduled at Pune on Thursday.

Last time the federations were advised by the IOA not to attend the meeting and only a few non-Olympic federations made it. This time, too, only six federations including those in equestrian and kabaddi, attended.

It is learnt that invitations to attend the meeting were sent out on September 24, but most of the federations conveyed their inability to attend the meeting only on Tuesday.

Flimsy excuses

“Most of them came up with flimsy excuses”, said a ministry official on Wednesday.

With the standoff between the IOA and the Sports Ministry continuing, despite the IOA claiming on more than one occasion that it was willing to discuss the draft policy with the ministry, there is concern about the consultation process and the eventual fate of the policy.

The ministry is likely to convene another meeting soon in order to break the deadlock

The IOA and the federations have objected to the proposed regulatory authority for sports and also rejected the proposal to have sports included in the Concurrent List of the Constitution.

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