IOA criticises govt for leaving it out from HI, IH

New Delhi: A miffed Indian Olympic Association on Friday hit out at the Sports Ministry for not
involving it in tomorrow`s merger talks to resolve the
long-standing dispute between Hockey India and the Indian
Hockey Federation.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken has summoned the presidents of
HI and the IHF for a meeting tomorrow to resolve the two
federations` feud over recognition and power-sharing.

IOA acting President V K Malhotra said the ministry
should have also taken the Olympic body into confidence.

"We also want one hockey body in the country. We have no
objection if the government becomes a facilitator in the
process but its jumping the gun and shooting from the hill is
wrong and not acceptable," he told reporters here today.

"Both the federations have approached us and written to
us regarding the matter but the ministry has not involved IOA.
We are not invited for tomorrow`s meeting and we only came to
know about it from the media," Malhotra said.

Though Malhotra welcomed the ministry`s move to play the
facilitator`s role, he said Maken`s warning of firm action
against HI and IHF if it`s merger proposal was not accepted is
a direct attack on the autonomy of the national federations.

"The government should not form a body. The minister
(Maken) has warned that he will take stern action if the two
bodies refuse to accept their proposal. It is not the way when
the matter is subjudice."

"The International Olympic Council will never tolerate
the government`s interference in sports bodies," Malhotra

He also said the IOA will seek Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh`s intervention in solving its dispute over autonomy with
the Sports Ministry.

"We are seeking time from the PM and we will talk to
him," Malhotra quipped.

Malhotra also came down hard on the ministry for not
giving back office spaces to the National Sports Federations
(NSFs) in the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, which were vacated
before last year`s Commonwealth Games for renovation of the

"After the 1982 Asian Games, the then government had
alloted office space to NSFs in Nehru stadium, Indira Gandhi
Stadium, National Stadium and Talkatora stadium. Before the
Commonwealth Games the federations were asked to vacate the
stadia premises and were provided temporary accommodation in
the NDMC building on rent basis," he said.

"The CWG Organising Committee was paying the rent to NDMC
but now they have stopped. The NDMC recently gave notice to
NSFs to vacate their premises.”

"Now that all five stadia have been handed over to the
Sports Authority of India and 1000 rooms are lying vacant
there, I don`t understand why office spaces were not being
re-alloted to NSFs," the IOA chief said.

Malhotra said instead of working with the NSFs, the
Sports Ministry has resorted to "arm-twisting" by leaving the
federations in the lurch.

"It is really heartening to know that the ministry has
announced Rs 258.39 crore for the preparation of athletes for
London Olympics but till date Mr Maken has not held a single
meeting with NSFs. The ministry should sit together with
federations and take decisions," he said.

The IOA president also rued the absence of a dedicated
SAI centre in the Capital and requested the government to
allow NSFs to organise national and international events in
the stadia built for the Commonwealth Games.

"There is no SAI centre in Delhi. A sports hostel should
also be built in Delhi," Malhotra said.

"The government has spent more than Rs 6,000 crore in the
re-construction of the stadia but not a single ground is
available to athletes for training.

"There should be maximum utilisation of these stadiums.
The government should encourage federations to organise events
and provide them for free for national and international
competitions," he added.


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