Confident Verma welcomes Azhar`s decision to contest

Chennai: Confident of yet another term at Badminton Association of India`s helm, long-standing BAI President VK Verma today changed his stance and said former cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin was welcome to contest Sunday`s election.

Verma, who had earlier questioned Azhar`s eligibility to contest since the former cricketer was not member of any state unit and was also fighting a life-ban on match-fixing charges, conceded there was nothing in BAI constitution to stop the former cricket captain from contesting in Sunday`s election.

"Azharuddin is welcome to contest or for that matter, anyone. The BAI Constitution provides for persons other than those from the affiliated units to contest for the posts of president and secretary," Verma said.

"The name should be proposed and seconded on the floor of the AGM. In the case of Azharuddin, since he is not a delegate or associated with any affiliated state unit, he cannot attend the AGM but has to give his acceptance in writing if he is proposed and seconded," Verma told reporters.

The BAI President asserted his re-election was merely a formality, claiming he had the backing of nearly all of the 34 voting units.

The BAI President, who has been heading the association for the last 12 years, dismissed the recent Sports Ministry regulation that fixed the term of federation presidents to 12 years at the most.

"The government guidelines come into play if you are seeking its financial assistance from it," Verma said, claiming BAI had now become self-sufficient.

"We have signed contracts with various sponsors to generate Rs four crore annually. So, we will not be requiring any financial assistance from the government," he said.


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