Sports Ministry to engage with 11 NSFs via video conference on Thursday

NSFs invited in the first batch are Handball, Basketball, Volleyball, Wushu, Tennis, Squash, Special Olympic Bharat, Yachting, Kayaking and Canoeing, Kabaddi and All India University (AIU).

Sports Ministry will first address federations which are managing ‘priority’ disciplines.(Representative image)   -  H. Vibhu

The Sports Ministry will reach out to 11 national federations on Thursday via video conference for a possible discussion on the future course of action as sporting activities have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been learnt that Sports Secretary Radheyshyam Julaniya will address two representatives each from the 11 federations invited for a meeting, the agenda of which has not been disclosed.

The Ministry, in the first batch, will address federations which are managing ‘priority’ disciplines.

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NSFs invited in the first batch are Handball, Basketball, Volleyball, Wushu, Tennis, Squash, Special Olympic Bharat, Yachting, Kayaking and Canoeing, Kabaddi and All India University (AIU).

All India Tennis Association CEO Akhouri Bishwadeep confirmed to PTI that there indeed is a meeting but did not tell what the agenda of the meeting is.

“I can’t tell you what the agenda is because we have not been told. I don’t know if it’s an ACTC meeting. We were told that there a meeting via Zoom App. I assume now that Olympics have been delayed and we had certain plans in place, the ministry wants to discuss way the forward,” Bishwadeep said.

Asked what thought process the AITA will take into the meeting, he said the federation will seek funds to create a robust national circuit in the changed circumstances.

“We still have some unutilised funds to the tune of Rs 65 lakh. We will ask for permission to use that fund for organising tournaments.”

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Asked why they would need permission if they already have funds in their pocket, Bishwadeep said the funds are always released for specific purposes and they are seeking a diversion.

“NSFs get funds, like some for equipment some for tournaments and some for foreign exposure. Due to lockdown, players are at home so money meant for exposure remains unutilised and something is there from the Fed Cup.

“We can’t shift funds on our own, so we will ask them if we can utilise the money for tournaments because the players are suffering due to shutdown of ITF, WTA and ATP tours.”

Bishwadeep fears that even when normalcy returns, it will be difficult to raise fund for tennis.

“I feel most of the corporates would put their money in more important things like feeding the hungry instead of supporting tennis. So we will seek more funds from the government,” he said.