Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Sports Minister Kiren Rjiju on Saturday sought to end a growing row between the Indian Olympic Association and his ministry over the autonomous functioning of the National Sports Federations. IOA president Narinder Batra had written a letter to the sports minister on April 16 saying, “Many NSFs who do not want to come in forefront want IOA to take the lead and any effort to interfere in autonomy of NSFs can’t and should not be allowed to be compromised.”
The backdrop was sports secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya reportedly raising a concerns with Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla over athletics high performance director (HPD) Volker Herrmann, who is currently at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, over some comments Volker allegedly made to some journalists.
Batra alleged that Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) CEO Rajesh Rajagopalan had also interfered and told the AFI president that “AFI HPD is an employee of SAI and SAI has every right to call him for any discussion and it is in the contract between SAI and HPD.”
Rjiju in his statement said he has been made aware of IOA president Batra’s concerns regarding the ‘autonomy of NSFs vis-a-vis perceived control of the Sports Ministry and SAI on their day- to-day functioning.’
“Regular consultation and discussion amongst the stakeholders at various levels must be smooth but undesirable conduct by individuals at any circumstances should not dampen our co-operation spirit and any remark made by individuals at certain situation should not be treated as a matter of policy,” he said. “While reviewing the critical sporting activities, the autonomous functioning of the National Sports Federations must be maintained at any cost.
“Govt is committed to provide necessary support to NSFs for the promotion of sports and to ensure the well-being of our athletes is not compromised,” the minister added.
The Ministry had recently called for appointments of CEOs and high performance managers at all NSFs.
Batra, in his letter, had said that there is a “lack of trust in the intentions of MYAS (sports ministry) and SAI” within the NSFs regarding such appointments. “..it is interference in the autonomy of NSFs and SAI through these appointments want to remote control NSFs.”
“A beginning in this regard has already been made by controlling the junior programme under Khelo India which again is an area of concern due to lack of clarity,” Batra had said.
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