CHENNAI: Despite sports ministry taking exception to the IOA’s decision to send Brij Bhushan Sharan as Chef de Mission and Rajkumar Sacheti as deputy Chef de Mission to the Asian Games, IOA is going ahead with its original plan.
The sports ministry are reportedly annoyed about the choice of the above-mentioned officials due to their tainted past. It is understood that the IOA had sent the list of athletes and officials to the ministry, however, the names of 12 contingent officials are yet to be forwarded to the ministry.
However, since the names are not with the ministry, it cannot take any action. “Since we have not got any intimation from IOA, we can’t act. Only if they send to us we can act. If they take them at their cost we cannot interfere because it is an autonomous body,” said a ministry official.
The ministry has only given an ‘in principle approval’ to the number of the contingent officials. “Complete details are yet to be received therefore in principle approval for the number has only been accorded. By name approval will be communicated on receipt of the details from IOA,” a government of India letter to the IOA secretary general stated. With just a week to go, that is quite extraordinary.
This newspaper has also learnt that the IOA will be footing the bill for managers and officials marked with a double asterix in the Annexure-I. While this list isn’t officially out, Express can reveal that 49 such members have been accredited and cleared to travel by the ministry but ‘at no cost to the government’.
“The participation of 755 members (out of a total of 804) of the Indian contingent including athletes/officials (excluding Managers and officials marked (**) in the Annexure-I (has been approved at cost to government,” the letter, a copy of which the paper accessed, further noted.
An IOA official confirmed this.
“Managers with undefined positions will be going on IOA cost,” an IOA source said. This was also confirmed by a few federations who are sending team managers. Apart from sending athletes, the sports ministry will be footing the bill only for coaches, physios, masseurs et. al. The DG, IGU was the only name not cleared by the ministry.
The IOA Special General Body meeting on Friday was one of the shortest in recent times. If members who attended the meeting are to be believed, it lasted less than 20-odd minutes.
Some who flew to Delhi were not amused. Some even asked why so much was spent for just 20 minutes. At the meeting, Batra decided to add one senior vice president and one vice president and refer it to the IOC for deliberation.
Former All India Tennis Association president Anil Khanna’s name is doing the rounds. If members are to be believed, this is to neutralise a current senior vice president, who apparently isn’t close to those in power.