CHENNAI: EFI secretary general RK Swain said the body had its reasons for giving clubs voting rights, something that’s in violation of the Sports Code. “Did you ask those state units how many competitions or events they conduct on a year by year basis? Did you ask them how many district associations are with them?” he asked.“According to the Sports Code, state unit can be affiliated only if it has 50% of district-level associations affiliated to it? Only one State/UT Association from each State/UT shall be admitted as a member of the Federation, provided it has a minimum of 50 per cent of the district-level associations affiliated to it.” The states feel they take the sport to the grassroots only if they are empowered.
Swain further justified individual members as the real stakeholders of the sport because they do something that state associations don’t — organising competitions. “The clubs conduct events and competitions, they also send reports of events to us... so you tell me, who should I give voting rights to?”
He also claimed that a few of the state units — there are 15 in total under EFI — don’t even have an office, just two people called ‘president and secretary’. “Let me take the example of a State X, now this state X is very basic, even no office. But two guys will form a body and call themselves X state equestrian federation of India. Without developing any infrastructure, without coming to any meeting or conference, without conducting any event... why should I give them voting rights?”
In the same vein, he was at pains to stress the fact that every state unit currently affiliated to EFI do have voting rights (each of the 15 units have two votes as is the norm). Meanwhile, the sports ministry is yet to respond to the letter sent to them by the federation. The EFI, last week, had addressed a letter to sports minister, Kiren Rijiju, requesting the sports ministry to give them an exemption from following the sports code because of the ‘peculiar nature’ of the sport. This was confirmed by Swain. However, after two extensions of almost two and half years, this time it might not be easy.