After taking action against the Boxing and the Archery federation in the country, the Sports Ministry is ready to suspend the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for violating the sports code on a number of clauses.
NDTV has learnt that Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, who has been insisting that the sports code has to be adhered to, is expected to take stern action against AFI as the body is believed to have violated three clauses: 1) No electoral college before elections in the federation, 2) Clause 14B of the AFI constitution states officials part of last executive can be part of fresh executive which means fewer fresher faces and 3) sports code says president can be nominated by one and seconded by one but AFI constitution has provision for three proposers for the same name/post and three seconders.
The body is currently under President Adille J.Sumariwalla.
Once the suspension comes into effect, Indian athletes will not get government support or funding which is crucial for training and exposure exercises which condition athletes for international excellence.
Pradip Deb, secretary, department of sports, told IANS that the government has sought some clarifications from the AFI on the conduct of its election.
"We don't want to get into the business of suspending sports bodies without a rhyme or reason. We have issued a show-cause notice to it. We have asked it to explain some of the issues in their election process," said Deb.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said the government is reviewing the functioning of all sports federations.
"As of now, we have not taken any move to derecognise it. We will keep reviewing the working of all sports bodies," he said.
AFI president Adille Sumariwala told IANS that he had met the sports secretary and had explained to him the issues his department has raised.
"I have met the sports secretary and have explained all the points raised by the ministry. I want to make it amply clear that the AFI is completely in sync with the ministry. We have adopted the sports code in respect to the tenure of office and age limit of the office bearers," he said.
AFI secretary-general C.K.Valson said the federation didn't violate any norms during the election.
"We haven't violated any rules while conducting the election. We have replied to the show-cause notice," said Valson.
NDTV spoke to CWG medalist Krishna Poonia immediately after learning about the development. "I am very sad to hear this news. Athletes compete for the nation and have done really well which makes this news even sadder. A solution should be found soon,"she said adding that if athletes lose their identity then why should they perform at all. "Players and athletes have nothing to do with all of this and so, nothing bad should happen to them."
Earlier last week, Sports Ministry had taken strong action against the Boxing and Archery federations. While the Boxing federation was warned that fresh elections have to take place within 15 days, Archery association faced wrath due to 'violation' of sports code's age and tenure clause.
Speaking to NDTV, Jitendra Singh had then said that the government stands by athletes and that he will ensure federations abide by the sports code.
(With IANS inputs)