New Delhi: Sports Ministry on Friday ordered to out on hold any official basketball event in India until Basketball Federation of India (BFI) office bearers were recognized by the Indian government.
The BFI has seen an ugly turf war in the last 6 months with two sections vying for control of the federation. This led to two separate elections
Two separate elections were held, which resulted in two sets of office-bearers taking charge. With so much chaos and confusion, sports ministry was forced to intervene in the matter.
As per a report in the Times of India (ToI), AK Patro, under secretary to the government of India wrote a letter to elected presidents of both the bodies that read:
"The ministry is not in a position to give recognition to either faction at this stage. Both factions are advised not to hold any official event in India and not to use the logo of this ministry or Sports Authority of India (SAI) until office bearers of BFI are recognized by the government."
The two elections for control of BFI took place on March 27 and 28 in Bengaluru and Pune respectively.
K Govindraj, former senior vice-president in the BFI, was declared president in Bengaluru, while president of Maharashtra State Basketball Association, Poonam Mahajan, won the election at the Pune AGM.
International Basketball Federation (FBI) and the Indian government observers were present at both elections. But the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) observer attended only the Pune AGM.
IOA, in a letter dated April 17, 2015 granted recognition to the BFI headed by Poonam Mahajan.
However, there was a twist in the table when FIBA, in a letter sent on May 23, recognized the Bengaluru election.
The governing body of world basketball also directed Govindraj and secretary Chander Mukhi Sharma to resolve their issued with the BJP MP's faction so that development of the sport in the country does not suffer.
FIBA also warned the warring faction of possible sanctions if they failed to find common ground.
41 out of 62 voting members were present to elect the 26-member executive committee in the BFI at the Pune AGM. While just 24 voters were present in Bengaluru, which lead to the formation 19-member committee in order to conduct the elections, said the ToI report.
After FIBA's letter, Mahajan-led BFI to compelled to postpone the scheduled youth national championship in Assam.
On Friday, the Govindraj group announced India would host the South Asian Basketball Championship (SABA) at the Kanteerva Stadium in Bengaluru from July 3-5.
After the letter from sports ministry to both parties, their proposed events will have to be put on hold.