The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Executive Committee, in consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has proposed the suspension of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
At present, the TTFI Executive Committee is suspended and a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), appointed by the Delhi High Court in February, controls the federation.
In its 43-page recommendations that requires the ratification of the ITTF’s AGM in Amman, Jordan, on December 6, the ITTF EC reiterated its earlier proposal to suspend the TTFI “if elections in the TTFI are not held before 15th November, 2022 and a formal communication including the names of the new TTFI Executive Board members is not received by the ITTF no later than 16 November, 2022.”
With the passing of the ITTF deadline and no timeline for the election process in place, it is evident that the CoA never took the ITTF directive seriously.
Explaining the rationale behind the proposal, the ITTF EC states, “While the ITTF understands the difference between a Government interference and Judicial intervention, the Committee of Administrators established by the High Court of Delhi in February 2022 has been in place for over eight months, assuming attributions which are the competence of the elected officials of TTFI.
“After consultation with the IOC, the ITTF EC proposes to the AGM to suspend the TTFI until its Executive Board is restored or until new elections are called, so as to ensure that democratically elected representatives of the General Assembly are running the TTFI business.”
Now the feet-dragging CoA is expected to do some fire-fighting by writing to the ITTF and explaining that the election process had begun with the appointment of the Returning Officer Justice Vineet Saran on October 17. It could also highlight the letter issued by Justice Saran to all affiliates of the TTFI to become National Sports Code compliant by November 10. Only Sports Code compliant units will be allowed to be part of the election process.
However, in spite of the paucity of time, it is apparent that no urgency was shown by the concerned authority to meet ITTF’s deadline of November 15.
When the ITTF, in its letter dated August 15, 2022, to the CoA under the red-lettered sub-heading “Notice of Proposed Suspension” clearly mentioned the possibility of suspension, the CoA sent a long-winding response to the ITTF on August 18 by barely touching upon the core issue.
In fact, the ITTF’s “Notice of Proposed Suspension” clearly states, “The suspension of a Member Association is a serious matter. Unfortunately, we have no other option but to consider appropriate protective measures vis-à-vis the TTFI until the proper governance is restored according to the TTFI and the ITTF Constitutions. If the TTFI (read its Committee of Administrators) fails to comply with the above actions and timelines, the EC will propose the suspension to the 2022 Annual General Meeting.
We sincerely hope for the TTFI Committee of Administrators to act responsibly in the interest of the large Table Tennis Community in India and restore a democratically elected Executive Board and Management as soon as possible.”
However, from the ITTF’s perspective in the face of CoA’s apparent disregard to its polite directive, it is set to act tough with TTFI. From now on, only some serious fire-fighting by the CoA, with some help from the judiciary, can save the situation.