Kalmadi, others vow “to do everything” to protect their autonomy

Kalmadi, others vow “to do everything” to protect their autonomy

New Delhi: Opposing the sports ministry directive restricting the tenure of sports body heads, the games administrators on Monday vowed “to do everything" to protect their autonomy.

Voicing stiff resistance Indian Olympic Association(IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi and other sports bodies, mostly headed by politicians said they would oppose the directive as “no one can meddle" with them as their constitution (of sports federations) is approved by the International Olympic Council or IOC.

“We are surprised by the government order and we would do everything to protect our autonomy. We have called an IOA Executive Committee meeting on May 18 and may convene a General Assembly meeting as well (to discuss the issue)," Kalmadi said.

Stressing on the autonomy of the IOA and other National Sports Federations Kalmadi said, “All NSFs also send their constitution to the respective international bodies and no one can interfere there either."

Countering the sports ministry claim that the move would help bring transparency to the functioning of IOA and NSFs, Kalmadi said “as far as transparency is concerned, IOA was brought under RTI (Right To Information) Act by the Ministry and we accepted it with a smile because we have nothing to hide."

Cracking down on the sports administrators who have monopolised most of the NSFs, the Sports Ministry yesterday announced a new regulation which says federation presidents cannot continue more than 12 years, with or without break, while secretaries or treasurers can serve two terms of four years at a stretch and would have to take a four-year gap before they seek a re-election.

The regulation hurts Kalmadi, who has been at IOA’s helm since 1996, while it also seeks to end the reigns of NSF chiefs V K Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (cycling), VK Verma (badminton), captain Satish K Sharma (aero club) and BS Adityan (volleyball), who have been occupying the top posts for more than a decade.

(PTI contributed to this story)