The CoA Saga: National Sporting Federations facing the administrative issues
Indian sporting federations have a history of getting into an administrative mess. We look at the Indian federations facing the CoA situation at present.
Indian footballing fraternity and fans were dealt a blow when FIFA decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for third-party interference. Although the suspension threat was looming on AIFF for the past few months with the ongoing tussle between the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and other stakeholders for the game.
With Supreme Court entering the scenario, FIFA observed it as third-party interference and suspended India.
Indian National Sports Federations (NSFs) are notorious for mismanagement and corruption. At present and in past apart from AIFF, there are multiple other NSFs which have gone through CoA.
What is CoA?
A CoA is a group of prominent individuals that oversee the operations of a National Sports Federation (NSF) when the previous administration is restructured to comply with the National Sports Developmental Code. These individuals may be from the athletic world or other fields. This entails drafting a new constitution and streamlining the election process to ensure best practices, such as limiting the age and tenure of office holders.
National Sports Federations under CoA
Indian Olympic Association (IOA)
In the latest developments, the Delhi High court dissolved the executive council of the chief governing body of Indian athletes Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
The Delhi High Court appointed a CoA comprising of Justice (retd) Anil R Dave, Dr S Y Quraishi, and former Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup. The members of the CoA were to be assisted by three eminent sportspersons - Olympic medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, former long jumper Anju Bobby George, and archer Bombayla Devi Laishram.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already threatened the IOA with a suspension if elections are not conducted. It is noteworthy that, IOA was banned in 2012 for more than a year for government interference.
Hockey India (HI)
During the same time as AIFF, Hockey Indian (HI) was placed under the CoA by the Delhi High Court after former Olympian Aslam Sher Khan filed a petition against the appointment of then IOA president Narinder Batra as a life member of Hockey India.
The court ruled the appointment of Narinder Batra illegal and ordered fresh elections under CoA.
The hockey CoA has similar names Justice (retd) Anil R Dave and Dr S Y Quraishi who are joined by former Olympian Zafar Iqbal.
Although Hockey India has support from International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the recent meeting was successful with elections and constitution both finalized soon.
Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI)
The apex council of Table Tennis in India was suspended by the Delhi High Court in February after Indian star player Manika Batra alleged match-fixing charges against former coach Soumyadeep Roy and officials.
TTFI saga brought more controversy with the CoA being dragged to court for player selections for Commonwealth Games 2022.
Judo Federation of India (JFI)
In June, the Judo Federation of India faced the axe of the Delhi High Court. Delhi High Court appointed Justice Pankaj Naqvi as the administrator of JFI after the writ petitions from State associations of Karnataka, Haryana and Bombay against disputes with JFI.
JFI has been involved in legal cases in past also.
All India Chess Federation (AICF)
Just before the glorious Chess Olympiad, in June according to the Delhi High Court, the election of Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan violated the sports code. Chauhan was also the tournament director of the Chess Olympiad. Chauhan oversaw the Chess Olympiad's tournaments as well.
But a few days later, in light of the Olympics, the Supreme Court permitted Chauhan to continue as a temporary measure through August 15. It will be interesting to observe how the chess organisation moves forward now that the Olympiad is done.
Equestrian Federation of India (EFI)
Equestrian NSF is one of the federations in limbo. They have been battling the cases over elections from 2020. Dr S Y Quraishi was the court-appointed observer for the EFI as well and in July raised concerns over the call for elections.