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Undesirable conduct of individuals shouldn’t dampen cooperation: Rijiju on Ministry-IOA tiff

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New Delhi: Undesirable conduct of individuals should not come in the way of institutional cooperation, said Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday, trying to defuse the tension after the IOA complained of ministry interference in national federations and drew sharp criticism from the sports secretary.

Rijiju said Indian Olympic Association(IOA) President Narinder Batra had brought to his notice, recent reports of concerns raised by some National Sports Federations (NSFs) that the Ministry and the Sports Authority of India were trying to seize control of their functioning.

“Regular consultation and discussion among the stakeholders at various levels must be smooth but undesirable conduct by individuals at any circumstances should not dampen our cooperation and spirit…,” the Minister stated.

Sports Secretary Radheshyam Julaniya had responded quite sharply to the NSFs’ allegations by stating that they should give up facilities provided by the government before complaining about interference.

“…any remark made by individuals at certain situation should not be treated as a matter of policy. We are determined to work together to realise the dream of making India a sports superpower,” said Rijiju.

Batra had alleged that Sports Authority of India’s TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) CEO Rajesh Rajagopalan was interfering in the functioning of federations.

The Minister, however, said the government has no such intention.

“…the autonomous functioning of the National Sports Federations must be maintained at any cost. Adherence to National Sports Code and Good Governance in NSFs are cornerstones of transparency and fairness in all its conducts,” he said.

“Govt is committed to provide necessary support to NSFs for the promotion of sports and to ensure the well-being of our athletes is not compromised,” the minister added.

Rijiju said the common goal of the Sports Ministry, IOA and the NSFs should be to work towards improving the overall sports ecosystem of the country with focus on identifying and nurturing talent.

“Providing the best facilities to our athletes in terms of training, diet and top level competition exposure and to ensure that India finishes in the Top 10 in 2028 Olympics, an ambitious target declared by me as Sports Minister of the country,” he said.

The minister stressed on the need for all stakeholders to work unitedly to achieve the common goal.

“To achieve these goals, the way forward is to have a proper coordination between Sports Ministry, SAI, IOA and NSFs.

“Government is committed to work closely with all NSFs and IOA to ensure that there is no gap in the communication between stakeholders,” Rijiju said.

Batra said he supports the vision of the Ministry and stressed on the need to work together to achieve the top 10 position in the medals tally at the 2028 Olympics.

“I fully agree with the statement issued by Ho’nble Union Minister Mr Kiren Rijiju on 18th April, as this is what we are working towards and we also have to work together to fulfill the targets Hon’ble Minister has set for 2028 i.e India in Top 10 in medals tally,” Batra said.

“I have always respected and appreciated the pro-active and friendly vision of Hon’ble Minister and the support of MYAS and SAI to attain this vision.

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