AICF factions trade charges, Ramesh stands firm

Chief selector R.B. Ramesh on Tuesday resigned as the chief selector of the AICF alleging “interference” from warring officials of rival factions.

File photo: AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan reiterated that Vijay Deshpande was not a secretary of AICF.   -  S. S. KUMAR

Within 24 hours of Chief selector and Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh resigning from his post, the two rival factions traded charges over the developments.

As reported in these columns, Ramesh chose to quit the post after he found it difficult to function objectively in the constrained environment due to the infighting involving the two groups.

On Tuesday evening, the faction headed by Venketrama Raja released a statement and named Bharat Singh Chauhan, of the rival faction, for interference in the selection process and blamed him for Ramesh’s resignation.

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The statement claimed Chauhan insisted on the inclusion of a Delhi player (Tania Sachdev) and “when reminded by Ramesh that the player did not qualify on technical grounds, Mr. Chauhan forwarded the confidential mails directly to the player concerned. Protesting against this, the ex-British chess champion tendered his resignation immediately.”

Within a few hours of this statement, Chauhan responded by accusing Raja and his men for seeking “cheap publicity” in the wake of Ramesh’s resignation.

Chauhan blamed the rival group for “creating confusion amongst the players and putting pressure on the selection committee.”

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“Ramesh, in fact, cleared the first team suggested by me and later changed it.”claimed Chauhan and continued, "Player (Tania) who was contacted and included in the team, has the right to know the reasons for excluding her from the team. It is the duty of the (AICF) secretary to inform the players of the reasons. Is being transparent about the selection process with the players wrong?” he asked.

Even as the two factions were involved in a war of words, Ramesh maintained a stoic silence. Though attempts continued to persuade him to withdraw his resignation, Ramesh stood firm.

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