AITA gets back recognition from sports ministry

The ministry on Thursday sent a communication to the AITA, which elected a new president early this year after Anil Khanna was forced to quit in 2016.

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The sports ministry has recognised the All India Tennis Association (AITA) almost a year after the tennis body’s renewal as a National Sports Federation (NSF) was put on hold due to non-compliance with the contentious Sports Code.

The ministry on Thursday sent a communication in this regard to the AITA, which elected a new president early this year after Anil Khanna was forced to quit in 2016.

Threatened with de-recognition, AITA had elected senior bureaucrat Praveen Mahajan as the new chief of the body at its Executive Committee meeting On December 1 last year.

However, the government insisted that AITA holds proper election, hence, a Special General Meeting (SGM) was held on February 3 in Pune and Mahajan was elected president till 2020.

“We had just kept their recognition in abeyance, pending a verification with regards to new AITA President. After Mr Anil Khanna quit, they elected Ms Mahajan but we had to see if there’s approval from the competent authority,” a senior ministry official told PTI.

“It was a routine verification process and nothing else.

After receiving documents (from CAT), we see no reason to delay it. Actually we should have clarified earlier that we never derecognised AITA. So this recognition is outcome of a verification process and it was not an issue which required any adjudication,” the official added.

Mahajan, who was the first woman to be chief of Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), is now posted in Jodhpur as administrative member of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

The ministry had asked Khanna to quit, arguing that his election as president in 2012 after serving two consecutive terms as general secretary, was against the Sports Code that bars officials from re-election after serving two consecutive terms of four years.

A cooling off period of four years is required before being eligible for the post again.

After offering to quit, Khanna was re-elected AITA president for a four-year term till 2020 but he refused to accept it unless the issue was resolved. Eventually he decided to quit the position.

“We now figure in priority list,” said AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee.

“Our election for post of President was in accordance of the Code after Mr Anil Khanna quit.”

The secretary general said they will soon introduce grants system for state associations for hosting tournaments.

It has been learnt that the ministry has asked the AITA to fund one third of the cost of the tournaments.

One third of the total cost will be provided by the government and one third has to be raised by the host association.

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