New Delhi, May 5: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi said that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured them of looking into the sports ministry's order, which he said threatens the autonomy of the IOA and National Sports Federations (NSFs).
"We have met the PM and briefed him about the issues that threaten the autonomy of the IOA and NSFs. We told him that we did not like the timing of this order and that too when the Commonwealth Games are near and at a time when the Co-ordination Commission is in the city to monitor the progress of the Games. This controversy could have been easily avoided," Kalmadi told reporters outside Parliament after meeting the prime minister.
Kalmadi along with other senior sports officials like Praful Patel (football), VK Malhotra (archery), Digvijay Singh (shooting), Randhir Singh (IOA secretary general) and Lalit Bhanot (athletics association secretary general) met the Prime Minister earlier in the day.
The IOA and NSFs are against the new regulations issued by the Sports Minister MS Gill which limits the tenure of presidents of sports bodies and makes retirement mandatory at 70 years.
IOA and NSFs are of the opinion that the new regulation would hinder their autonomy.
Stating the Gill should have chosen an appropriate time for making the announcement, Kalmadi said that he could have waited for the Commonwealth Games to get over.
"We don't want to go on the offensive. Dr Gill could have waited for the Commonwealth Games to get over. We have also told PM that all sports federations will work hard to make the Commonwealth Games a huge success. Randhir has given the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) letter to PM and he has assured us that he will look into the matter and will get back to us," Kalmadi added.
Meanwhile, the IOC's National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations director Pere Miro, in his letter to Randhir Singh, stated that it is closely monitoring the situation and said that it would not refrain from imposing sanctions on its Indian affiliate if there is too much government intereference.