Sports Ministry restores recognition of GFI after 10 years

The recognition has been granted till December 31 this year. The GFI was de-recognised by the ministry in 2011 because of infighting in the body.

Representative Image: The Sports Ministry has restored the recognition of the faction-ridden Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) after 10 years.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The Sports Ministry has restored the recognition of the faction-ridden Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) after 10 years, taking into records Sudhir Mittal's election as president in the polls held in November 2019.

The recognition has been granted till December 31 this year. The GFI was de-recognised by the ministry in 2011 because of infighting in the body.

Currently, the sports ministry grants annual recognition to National Sports Federations. "It has been decided to restore the recognition of GFI with immediate effect and up to 31.12.2021," said a ministry letter issued on Friday.

The ministry also took on records the election of treasurer Kaushik Bidiwala but said a decision on the acceptance of Shanti Kumar Singh as general secretary will be taken after Manipur High Court's judgment on a pending writ petition.

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"...the election of (Sudhir Mittal, president and Kaushik Bidiwala, treasurer) for 2019-2023 have been taken on records of the ministry," the letter said.

"The decision of acceptance of S Shanti Kumar Singh as general secretary will be taken after Manipur High Court's judgment in the WP filed by Shanti Kumar Singh." In the order, the ministry said the constitution/MoA of the GFI needs to be aligned with the provisions of the Sports Code of 2011.

"GFI is required to make a categorical affirmation of the provisions of the Sports Code in its constitution within six months to bring fully in line with the Sports Code.

"The federation is also required to take necessary steps for uploading of the information in compliance with the instructions contained in the ministry's letter (of 2015) on suo motu disclosure within three months." Shanti Kumar was elected as general secretary in the polls held on November 5, 2019, but the ministry had objected to his election on the ground of tenure rule violation of the Sports Code of 2011.

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The ministry had said that Shanti Kumar's terms each as treasurer and general secretary meant his re-election as general secretary for a second term violated the Sports Code.

Shanti Kumar said the Manipur High Court has stayed the order of the sports ministry and the case is again coming up on March 3.

"First, the single bench stayed the ministry order and then they (ministry) went to the double bench which said it will not interfere with the earlier order. I am hoping for a favourable ruling on March 3," he said from Imphal.

He contended that since the GFI had not been recognised by the ministry since 2011, the Sports Code did not apply to his case. He said a similar question arose before his nomination during the 2019 GFI elections and the returning officer had ruled in his favour based on the same grounds he had argued in front of the High Court.