Railways appeals for AAI disqualification alleging participation of “ineligible players”

Airport Authority of India employs players only on contract and Railways Sports Promotion Board said this makes the players ineligible and hence should be disqualified.

AAI edged out Railways 3-2 in the final on Monday.   -  Special Arrangement

Railways, which finished as runner-up at the Senior National Badminton Championship, wants champion Airport Authority of India (AAI) to be disqualified, alleging that it has fielded “ineligible” players.

Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) has shot a letter to Badminton Association of India (BAI) secretary Ajay Singhania, saying that the governing body had informed some teams ahead of the Junior Nationals in December last year, that it cannot field players on scholarship and on contract in the team championship.

AAI employs players only on contract and RSPB said this makes the players ineligible and hence should be disqualified.

“Our team manager Gajender Singh had raised the issue in the managers’ meeting but his objections were overlooked. This has resulted in Indian Railways missing out on the title,” RSPB wrote in the letter.

Railways had narrowly missed out on the title after losing the summit clash against AAI 2-3 on Monday.

During the Inter-State Junior team championship last December, BAI had asked Air India to furnish proof of employment of the shuttlers representing the team, thus rejecting its entry for the event.

However, BAI allowed AAI to field contracted players for the Inter-State Championship.

Singhania said it had to allow AAI to compete since it had qualified for the Nationals after participating at the All India Inter Institutional tournament in August last year, much before the communication was sent.

“The Inter-Institutional tournament, which was the qualifying event for the Inter-State championship, was conducted before the Junior Nationals and so we had to allow AAI to play in Guwahati,” he told reporters.

“We want teams to field employed players because it will only help the athletes get permanent jobs.”