I have no desire to continue as AITA president: Anil Khanna

Anil Khanna has said he can't pay enough time to AITA's day-to-day affairs.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 28, 2015, 17:06 PM IST
I have no desire to continue as AITA president: Anil Khanna

Pune: Senior sports administrator Anil Khanna today said that he has "no desire to continue" as the president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and has offered to step down from the top post of the governing body.

Khanna today informed the AITA Executive Committee members that he has made up his mind to step down as AITA President. The next EC meeting will be held on November 5.

"I have no desire to continue as AITA President. Not because of the guidelines but because of my tight schedule. I will be travelling extensively in the next four years. They can not remove me with wrong implementation and wrong interpretation of Sports Code, for that the AITA will fight till the end and has the legal door always open," Khanna told PTI in an exclusive interaction.

Khanna, who has been under pressure to step down after the Sports Ministry threatened to derecognize AITA by firing a fresh notice on Tuesday, has already offered to relinquish office at the next Annual General Meeting of the association.

In a letter to new Sports Secretary Rajiv Yadav, dated October, 9 2015, Khanna expressed his wish to step down since he will not be able to devote much time to day-to-day affairs of AITA due to his obligations and responsibilities as ITF Vice President and ATF President.

Khanna had also sought a meeting with Yadav to explain how with his enhanced stature in world tennis, he can work in tandem with the government to help Indian tennis but never got a reply.

Khanna was elected as AITA President for a four-year term (2012-2016) after serving as AITA Secretary General for two consecutive terms.

The Sports Code requires a cooling off period of four years if an office-bearer seeks relection after serving two consecutive terms.

AITA contends that Khanna did not seek re-election as Secretary-General but was elected as President in June 2012 and there were no instructions that a person, who has served as Secretary-General can not become President without serving cooling-off period.

"We are willing to contest that in the court but our idea is to co-operate. We are already following the Sports Code. We were the first National Sports Federation to accept the new guidelines," he said.

Khanna said he was baffled after being served a fresh notice, when he has already told the government that he will tender his resignation at the next AGM to be held next month or in December.

"I don't know where they (Government) are heading. We are following our constitution," he added.

He also felt that the magnitude of his achievement (becoming ITF Vice President) meant nothing to the government.

"Look, the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) will be much stronger now. I have already visited Kazakhstan and Kuwait to discuss how their tennis can go forward and I have been invited by Tajikistan, Sri Lanka to discuss development plans for tennis but in my own country I am yet to get a congratulatory letter from any government official," Khanna, who is also ATF President, lamented.

Khanna being Head of ITF (Development) holds a lot clout and can get a lot of funding to help Indian tennis.

"I have no personal interest and I only want to help Indian tennis," he said.

He narrowly lost the ITF presidential elections but was elected as vice-president of the world governing body of the sport and also in the powerful board of directors.

Khanna also contended that VK Malhotra, who was recently appointed as President of All India Council of Sports (AICS), headed the Archery Association of India for nearly four decades but "no coercive action was taken by government".

Khann also hoped that Malhotra, whose new post is equivalent to the rank of an MoS (Minister of State) will take up the matter at approprioate level.