Sports Ministry advises IOA to discharge functions of RFI

New Delhi: The Union Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry has advised the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to constitute a committee for discharging the functions of the Rowing Federation of India (RFI).

On Wednesday, the Sports Ministry de-recognised RFI for violating the Sports Code of 2011 during its elections held in December. In the RFI elections held on December 6 in Hyderabad, Rajlaxmi Singh Deo and MV Sriram were elected as president and secretary-general respectively.

But the Ministry, in a letter to the RFI president, said that the said elections were not in accordance with the Sports Code and hence the recognition of the national rowing body stands cancelled.

“Upon examination of the matter (from the reports of the Returning Officer and government observer), it has been found that the said elections of the RFI are not in accordance with the Model Elections Guidelines prescribed in the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011,” the letter from the Ministry said.

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“… it has been decided that the recognition of the RFI would cease w.e.f 01/02/2020 and not be renewed in view of the positions explained,” it added.

The ministry found violations of the Sports Code by RFI in four areas.

“As per the website of RFI, there are 21 state/UT units out of which only 18 participated in the election process. RFI does not fulfil the 2/3 state/UT affiliation criteria as it must have had at least 25 state/UT as its affiliated members.”

“MV Sriram had held the post of Secretary General for two terms till January 2016 and hence as per the cooling-off provision of the NSDCI (Sports Code), 2011, he would have been eligible to contest elections only after 29.01.2020 (after the completion of a cooling-off period of four years).”

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The RFI elections allowed proxy voting while there was no such provision in the model election guidelines of the Sports Code. The RFI also allowed three votes per its affiliated unit while the Sports Code prescribes only two.

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