IOA calls on PM to hold urgent meeting on SAG hosting

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2011, 13:52 PM IST

New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association has called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene an urgent meeting between Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit, IOA officials and Sports Minister Ajay Maken to work out the modalities of hosting the South Asian Games in New Delhi in 2012.

"You have just returned after attending the SAARC meeting in Maldives. You must have been briefed there that next South Asian Games (SAG) are scheduled to be held in Delhi next year." Malhotra has written in the letter.

Malhotra said the Games have come to India because of the rotational system of hosting and only the IOA is authorised to oversee the conduct of the event.

"Here I want to make it very clear that the IOA did not make any bid for these Games. These Games have come to us because of the rotation system. SAG, earlier called South Asian Federation (SAF) Games, are part of the SAARC charter according to which Games have to be rotated among the member states." he said.

"As per Article 12 (4) of the South Asia Olympic Constitution, the National Olympic Committee of the country on which the responsibility of the celebration of the Games fall, shall organise the Games on its own or it may delegate this authority to an Organising committee, which shall act under the guidance of the NOC." he explained.

"I request you to call an urgent meeting, of Delhi Chief Minister, IOA officials, and sports minister, presided over by you to discuss the planning and conduct of the Games which is a national commitment, because India is a founder of the SAARC."

Malhotra said calling such a meeting is very important because of Maken`s recent comments that the IOA cannot be entrusted with the money to organise the Games.

"The meeting is important because sports minister Ajay Maken is continuing with his unbridled, unfounded and malicious campaign against the IOA." he said.

"He has claimed that he does not have much confidence that the present IOA will handle huge amount of money for organising the Games. The minister has also claimed that unless he has the confidence of handing over money to such organisation he can`t commit to it." Malhotra said.

"I want to emphasis here that, as per the Games constitution and the Olympic charter, only the NOC (which is IOA) can conduct it and nobody else. Not with standing minister`s liking or disliking."

Malhotra said hosting the Games would not be too big a logistical task as infrastructure is already in place due to last year`s Commonwealth Games.

"I want to stress the fact that with huge infrastructure in place, the Games can be held at minimal cost. I am told that, Bangladesh which hosted the previous edition of the Games spent around Rs. 80 crore.”

"It should cost us much less because we don`t have to spent anything on the stadia. However IOA will like to sort out the matter as quickly as possible, We want to know whether the Government is interested in hosting the Games or not. Hence this request for urgent meeting with you." he said.

Malhotra said the IOA wants the government to keep a tab on the finances to prevent any bungling.

"IOA has already made it clear that for the conduct of SAG it will like the government to deal with the financial aspect of it. We want the government agencies to handle the expenditure and income from TV rights, sponsorships, advertisement etc. and Delhi Government can take charge of opening and closing ceremony." he suggested.

"IOA will also like to have some senior union cabinet minister, as its nominee, to be the chairman of the Organising Committee." he said.

PTI