Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured that he would look into the sports ministry's order that reportedly threatens the autonomy of the IOA and National Sports Federations (NSFs).
"We have met the PM and briefed him about the issues that threaten the autonomy of the IOA and NSFs. We told him that we did not like the timing of this order and that too when the Commonwealth Games are near and at a time when the Co-ordination Commission is in the city to monitor the progress of the Games. This controversy could have been easily avoided," Kalmadi told reporters outside Parliament after meeting the prime minister.
Kalmadi was accompanied by other senior sports bosses like Praful Patel (football), VK Malhotra (archery), Digvijay Singh (shooting), Randhir Singh (IOA secretary general) and Lalit Bhanot (athletics association secretary general).
The IOA and the NSFs are at loggerheads with sports minister MS Gill after the ministry issued an order limiting the tenure of presidents of sports bodies and also made retirement mandatory at 70 years.
Kalmadi said that Gill could have waited for the Commonwealth Games to get over.
"We don't want to go on the offensive. Dr Gill could have waited for the Commonwealth Games to get over. We have also told PM that all sports federations will work hard to make the Commonwealth Games a huge success. Randhir has given the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) letter to PM and he has assured us that he will look into the matter and will get back to us," Kalmadi added.
The IOC's National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations director Pere Miro, in a letter to Randhir Singh, dropped a hint that the apex body of international sports will not hesitate to impose sanctions on its Indian affiliate if there is too much government interference as it is closely monitoring the situation.