BFI puts up a new hurdle but IOA confident of conducting trials

Despite the Basketball Federation of India claiming the Karnataka High Court has issued a stay order against the Indian Olympic Association’s basketball trials, scheduled to be held in New Delhi on Saturday to pick the Indian team for next week’s South Asian Games, the IOA is confident that the trials would be run as planned.

The BFI has now released a list of probables for the South Asian Games but Secretary General Rajeev Mehta made it clear that the IOA would send the team.   -  M. A. Sriram

Despite the Basketball Federation of India claiming the Karnataka High Court has issued a stay order against the Indian Olympic Association’s basketball trials, scheduled to be held in New Delhi on Saturday to pick the Indian team for next week’s South Asian Games, the IOA is confident that the trials would be run as planned.

“We have moved court in Karnataka saying that the IOA’s trials are illegal. We will get the court order tomorrow morning, it got delayed. We have already intimated all the States,” said a BFI source on Friday evening.

But the IOA remained firm that the trials would be held tomorrow.

“We have not received any court order till now, till 5.30 p.m. nobody came to give the court order in my office,” said Rajeev Mehta, the IOA Secretary General, over phone from New Delhi.

“Saturday and Sunday, the IOA office is closed, it will open on Monday. So, the trials will go on.”

BFI’s probables

The BFI has now released a list of probables for the South Asian Games but Rajeev Mehta made it clear that the IOA would send the team.

“The IOA will send the team. Nobody can stop the Games, we are trying to improve things. This is a direct step taken by the IOA, this is not a step of the ad-hoc body (formed earlier by the IOA to run basketball in the country after faction feud disrupted the sport),” explained Mehta. “There is a stay against the ad-hoc body. There is no stay on the IOA to select and send the teams or to stop the event, this is another thing.”

Mehta also said that the IOA was trying its best to see that fresh elections are held in basketball.

Meanwhile, the BFI has sent a mail to its affiliated units about the stay order and has advised them not to send players or officials to the IOA-arranged trials.

“Any further action with regards to the selection trials by the IOA will result in a contempt of court,” the K. Govindaraj, the BFI President who is now in Delhi, has said in the letter to the State associations.

The BFI has also announced a list of probables, 24 in the men’s section and 25 in women’s, for the South Asian Games and it plans to start the national camp in Mangalore on February 3.

“The men’s camp is for two events, the South Asian Games (basketball will be played from February 11-16) and the international tournament in Dubai which comes close to Games. Players who have been selected for the SAG will leave for Guwahati on February 8 and the players for Dubai will leave on February 11,” said a BFI source.

While the IOA-BFI tussle continues, sadly many of the country’s top stars, who are already on their way to Delhi, will be running back and forth, hoping for better times.