Railways explains its stand

In a communication to Sportstar, the RSPB pointed out that a reply to the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) was mailed on January 5, on receipt of its provisional entry the previous day, but the BFI chose to keep the Railways out on the pretext of receiving the reply late.

M. A. Sriram

The RSPB stressed that the BFI was derecognised by both the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).   -  M. A. Sriram

The Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) placed its argument on record that it was unfairly kept out of the National basketball championship to be staged in Puducherry from January 7.

In a communication to Sportstar, the RSPB pointed out that a reply to the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) was mailed on January 5, on receipt of its provisional entry the previous day, but the BFI chose to keep the Railways out on the pretext of receiving the reply late.

The RSPB stressed that the BFI was derecognised by both the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

"Railways permitted its players last year on the request of BFI. It was clearly stated then, as has been done now that affiliation fee can’t be paid to an unrecognised federation, Railways being a Government department," the RSPB argued.

Further pointing at the ban imposed on 96 players apart from coaches and other officials who had participated in an event organised by the UBA, the Railways pointed out that the BFI was inconsistent on the subject.

"It is interesting to note that while the BFI had no problem with the first two editions of the UBA league, they decided to ban the best basketball players of the country who played in the UBA this year. A derecognised federation derecognising the UBA league!," the statement read.

On its part, the BFI argued that the Railways had no qualms about accepting Rs.100,000 in prize money from the national championship in the last edition from a derecognised federation, but was resorting to rules about paying an annual affiliation fee of Rs. 5000.

The BFI also stressed that both the Railways and the Services did not look at the best interest of the country when they refused to allow their players to be part of the national team.