IOA asks member units to stay away from ministry meetings on Khelo India

IOA president Narinder Batra called for a meeting of all member units to discuss issues related to Khelo India and SAI’s Guidelines on Talent Search and Development.

Narinder Batra insisted that SAI and the Sports Ministry were resorting to divide-and-rule tactics and member units should not allow them to interfere in the national federations’ independence and autonomy. (File Photo)   -  AFP

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has directed its constituents not to attend any meetings organised by the Sports Ministry (MYAS) or the Sports Authority of India (SAI) regarding the Khelo India programme until the government makes its intentions clear on the initiative.

The Indian Olympic Association has asked its member units to stay away from all meetings organised by the Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports regarding the Khelo India programme until further notice.

In a letter written to the National Sports Federations (NSFs) and state Olympic associations, IOA president Narinder Batra called for a meeting of all member units to discuss issues related to Khelo India and SAI’s Guidelines on Talent Search and Development.

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“I will strongly recommend that no member unit of IOA should meet with SAI/MYAS for anything concerning Khelo India Programme until the real intentions of the present setup in SAI/MYAS becomes abundantly clear to us,” he was quoted as saying in an e-mail.

Batra insisted that SAI and the Sports Ministry were resorting to divide-and-rule tactics and member units should not allow them to interfere in the national federations’ independence and autonomy.

This development comes barely a month before the April 4-15 CWG in Australia, which does not augur well for Indian sports. This is also the first such face-off after Batra took charge as new IOA president in December 2017.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had recently asked the NSFs and the IOA to be transparent in their functioning and also be independent financially. When contacted, SAI Director General Neelam Kapur said she had not received any such communication from the IOA.

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