Ball in BFI’s court as IOA picks basketball teams

Despite the threat of a stay order, the Indian Olympic Association conducted trials in New Delhi on Saturday and selected the men’s and women’s basketball teams for next week’s South Asian Games in Guwahati and Shillong.

While the matter goes to the court, the players are sure to spend a few anxious days over the issue at a time when they should be training freely for the South Asian Games.

Despite the threat of a stay order, the Indian Olympic Association conducted trials in New Delhi on Saturday and selected the men’s and women’s basketball teams for next week’s South Asian Games in Guwahati and Shillong.

“We had the trials and both the teams have been selected and the camp will start tomorrow,” said Rajeev Mehta, the IOA Secretary General, on Saturday evening. “I was not there but our selection committee was.”

Almost all the country’s leading players attended the IOA trials, and according to a top player, one notable name missing from the women’s team list was Tamil Nadu’s Indian star Anitha Pauldurai.

BFI action

Meanwhile, BFI President K. Govindaraj said that whatever action the federation plans to take would be revealed on Monday.

“We have called for the camp and we will conduct the camp. We will see on Monday, we let you know then what action we will take,” he said.

However, the Karnataka High Court’s order which the BFI had sent to its State associations today does not appear to be a stay order.

With the BFI moving court, the High Court has called the respondents – in this case the IOA represented by its Secretary General Rajeev Mehta and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports represented by its principal secretary – to appear in court on February 1.

“Emergent notice is hereby given to you to appear in this court in person or through an advocate or through someone authorised by law to act for you in this case, at 10.30 a.m. on February 1 to show cause why rule nisi should not be allowed,” said the Karnataka High Court order.

“If you fail to appear on the said date or any subsequent date for which the matter may be posted as directed by the court, without any further notice, the petition will be dealt with, heard and decided on merits in your absence.”

Caught in tug of war

While the matter goes to the court, the players are sure to spend a few anxious days over the issue at a time when they should be training freely for the South Asian Games. Clearly, the players who spoke to Sportstar appeared very worried.

There is now also a big worry that the world body FIBA could enter the scene and call off the basketball event from the Games.