Verma’s victory slap on Sports Ministry’s face: sports bosses

IOA officials described V K Verma’s re-election as Badminton Association of India President “a slap on the government’s face”.

New Delhi: Describing V K Verma’s re-election as Badminton Association of India President “a slap on the government’s face”, IOA officials today lashed out at the Sports Ministry for using former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin as a “prop” to impose its tenure-limitation guidelines.

“I congratulate all the units of the BAI for electing Mr Verma and it is a resounding slap on the government’s face which had gone out of the way to unseat Mr Verma. Even the courts did not support their move and dismissed Azhar’s plea for a stay on the elections,” Senior Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association VK Malhotra told reporters.

“The government tried everything to prop up Azhar and used all their machinery but eventually had to lick dirt and it only shows that the new tenure limitation guidelines are draconian,” he added.

Verma, who has been at BAI’s helm for 12 years, which is the maximum that a National Sports Federation head is allowed under the Sports Ministry’s new guidelines, was re-elected in Chennai today after Azharuddin backed out at the eleventh hour.

Azharuddin is rumoured to have the backing of the Sports Ministry and the cricketer-turned-politician tried in vain to get a stay order on the election.

Lashing out at the Ministry, Malhotra, who has been heading the archery association for more than three decades, said, “These guidelines are an attempt to infringe on the autonomy of national federations and it will not be allowed to happen.”

IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh also hailed Verma’s re-election and criticised the Sports Ministry for “pushing in” its own candidate.

“This is a great result and Mr Verma deserves it considering the troubles he went through with the government trying pushing in its own people and trying to influence the election,” Randhir said.

“It is a victory for all federations,” he added.


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