Sports ministry slams IOA funding delegates for Asian Games

New Delhi: Livid with the Indian Olympic Association for sponsoring the Asian Games 'junket' of sports federation officials, the Sports Ministry has said the IOA could have better spent the money in ensuring "good governance" and "transparency".

On September 9, the IOA had written to 35 National Sports Federations (NSF) to nominate one delegate each for the Games beginning on Friday for the largesse costing Rs 1.25 lakh per official, covering air travel and stay for seven nights.

"Why should the IOA fund officials who have no work and are going on a paid holiday?" asked a Sports Ministry official while talking to PTI.

"They should rather use the money for sports promotion and athletes. It is pointless to spend on delegates who have no work there," the official said.

Following IOA's invitation, the Cycling Federation of India had questionably recommended name of Congress MP from Rohtak, Deepinder Hooda and his wife.

The Olympic body's decision to take care of delegates comes after the ministry pruned India's Asian Games contingent from 942 athletes and officials to 679 members.

The ministry is also unhappy about the IOA and NSFs not paying heed to its demand for submitting the details of expenses on officials during the July 23-Aug 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The ministry asked for the information following the arrest of two officials in Glasgow, including the IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.

"Instead of sponsoring junkets, I think the IOA should focus on putting its financial details on its website. The public should know their source of income and whatever money is there, they should use it on athletes," said the official.

"I am also very sorry to say none of the federations have bothered to furnish the details. Their basic purpose is to provide good governance and transparency," he added.

On the other hand, a Secretary General of a NSF said IOA taking delegates was routine. "I don't know what the fuss is about. IOA has been sponsoring delegates for many years. This time the number is only 35. When Suresh Kalmadi was in charge, the number used to cross 100 easily," he said.

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