New Delhi: The showdown between government and the badminton establishment intensified with BAI boss V K Verma refusing government funding in future, a move seen as an attempt to prevent interference from the Sports Ministry in its upcoming elections.
At loggerheads with the Sports Ministry over its June 13 elections in Chennai, BAI thus became the first National Sports Federation after the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) to claim financial self-sufficiency and refuse government aid.
"Badminton Association of India (BAI) doesn`t need to follow the government guidelines because like BCCI we are financially self-sufficient and we can run the international calender without taking a single rupee from the government in future," Verma, who has been in office for the past 12 years, told reporters.
"By astute marketing we have lined up sponsorships to the amount of five to six crores and we are self sufficient," he added.
After the controversy over Ministry`s tenure-limitation guidelines started, the Indian Olympic Association – the parent body of the NSFs -- had also refused government funding.
But despite its refusal to accept government funds in future, it is unclear whether BAI would be able to keep the Ministry at bay come June 13.
"... even if BAI were to be become financially independent, it does not mean that it could treat government as an outsider as sports is a public good and sports development is a public service and therefore, no sports federation can claim that it can act as a private body without
public accountability," Joint Secretary (Sports) Injeti Srinivas stated in a letter to Verma.
BAI`s opposition notwithstanding, the Ministry has appointed Director (Sports) Deepika Kachhal as the observer for the AGM threatening the body with de-recognition in case of non-compliance with government regulations.
"Please note that Government recognisation to any NSFs is subject to compliance with the Government guidelines for such recognition. It would, therefore, be necessary for you to comply with the government guidelines, which require that a recognised NSF must inform government well in advance about its General Body and other meetings where decisions on important matters are taken, including the elections of office bearers," Srinivas said in his letter.
The entire drama started after former cricket captain Mohd Azharuddin announced his candidature for the BAI President`s post in the upcoming elections.