Malhotra`s presence does not matter too much: Sports Ministry

New Delhi: Sports Ministry on Thursday termed Vijay Kumar Malhotra`s decision to stay away from the May 15 meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne as "disappointing" but said that the IOA acting chief`s presence would not have in any case mattered too much.

"I am disappointed. I wish he could reconsider his decision and come for the meeting. However, Malhotra`s presence does not matter too much in any case," Deb told PTI.

In a dramatic development today, Malhotra and India`s IOC member Randhir Singh pulled out of the meeting, which is to be attended by a delegation of the Sports Ministry also.

Malhotra and Randhir`s decision came a day after the IOC agreed to include Hockey India General Secretary Narinder Batra and Jharkhand Olympic Association chief R K Anand in the IOA delegation for the meeting, in addition to the four-member list submitted earlier by the acting IOA president.

Deb, however, was taken aback by Randhir`s stand on not going for the crucial meeting.

"I hope he doesn`t back out. It would be unfortunate," said Deb.

Randhir had also written a letter to the IOC, expressing his inability to attend the meeting.

The Sports secretary insisted that the meeting would be held as per schedule and the latest development won`t deter other members of the delegation to call-off or postpone the date.

"IOC decided that they would accept the majority there and as far as I am concerned, rest of us are going," Deb added.

Confident of presenting united front at Lausanne, Deb said,"As it is, we have agreed on everything and there is no reason not to present a united front there. We respect autonomy and there is no conflict regarding that."

Earlier, Malhotra had named a four-member delegation to be led by him for the joint meeting. The other members of the delegation he had named were Tarlochan Singh, S Reghunathan and N Ramachandran.