Railways and Services adamant in their stand

The request from the Basketball Federation of India was simple. The payment of affiliation fee with interest, once the government recognised the national federation. Forward the letter granting permission to the players to compete in the UBA event.

The men's and women's players of Railways have been in training camps for weeks, preparing for the Puducherry national championship, in Chennai and Secunderabad.   -  Sandeep Saxena

The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) was willing to relax its tough stand on the participation of teams for the National championship, but the giants of Indian sports, Railways and Services, continued to be adamant in towing the government line, about not listening to an unrecognised federation.

The BFI sought certain commitments from the two boards and was willing to allow them to field their teams in the national championship,including the players suspended for competing in the UBA event.

The request from the federation was simple. The payment of affiliation fee with interest, once the government recognised the national federation. Forward the letter granting permission to the players to compete in the UBA event.

Express regret for defying the federation’s advice on the subject of fielding players in an unrecognised event. An agreement to not be part of events, not recognised by the BFI, in future.

While agreeing about the future course of action with regard to restraining the involvement of their personnel in unrecognised events, the Services and Railway Boards stuck to their stand that there was no question of expressing regret as it was a matter of policy to allow players to compete in various events to enhance exposure.

It was also mentioned that the affiliation fee to the BFI would be paid only for the period when it is recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

While the Basketball Federation was willing to put up the whole matter in front of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and provide interim relief to the teams before it, in the larger interest of the game, the Railways and Services sports promotion boards, precipitated the matter with regard to participation in the 67th National basketball championship to be staged in Puducherry from January 7 to 14.

Even though the Sports Ministry had failed to see the virtue of the national federation being explicitly recognised by the International Federation, it tried to mediate truce, as the biggest custodian of sports in the country.

Thus, both the parties continued to forward their communication to the Sports Minister Vijay Goel and the Sports Secretary in the Ministry,to keep the government informed about the situation.

On the other hand, it would be unfair to various teams that had made their selection excluding the players who were featured in the UBA event and were already on their way to the venue, if the Railways and Services were to be given an exemption at the last minute. The national championship forms the foundation for selection of national teams for international competition.

Having already missed out on the SAF Games, as the organisers tried to be smart and paid the penalty by inviting the wrath of the international federation which forced the cancellation of basketball in Assam last year, the players are understandably worried of losing their berths in the national team for the Asian championships.

Interestingly, the men's and women's players of Railways have been in training camps for weeks, preparing for the Puducherry national championship, in Chennai and Secunderabad.