The sports ministry has turned down the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) proposal to bid for the 2019 Asian Games. It has held the IOA responsible for forcing their hands, saying the National Olympic Committee (NOC) "did not provide adequate details (on the bidding process and logistics). Therefore, the IOA's proposal does not merit consideration".
Document with HT show the ministry approached the IOA bosses no less that half-a-dozen times, seeking clarity on the bid, but in vain.
Finally, the ministry wrote to IOA president, Suresh Kalmadi, on November 3 saying, "A decision to bid for mega sporting events like the Asian Games need to be based on careful evaluation of the feasibility in terms of location, financial commitments, opportunity costs, administrative arrangements and other logistical and national considerations. The decision to host the Games has to be taken after extensive inter-ministerial consultations, for which the IOA has not provided adequate details."
Another ministry letter castigating the IOA for the bidding muddle, issued on the same day states, "None of the queries raised in the ministry's previous letters have been addressed. In the absence of requisite details, the ministry would not be in a position to undertake inter-ministerial consultations and place the matter before competent authority.”
Sources in the ministry said the charges of massive corruption and financial mismanagement in the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC), headed by Kalmadi, had forced the government to seek a complete blueprint of the bidding process from the IOA. "The initial bid for the Commonwealth Games was in the range of some Rs 1,000 crores, while the actual budget came to nearly Rs 30,000 crore. So, we needed everything in black and white," said the source.
Letters show the ministry had, time and again, sought clarification from the IOA, and on July 8, 2010, a letter addressed to IOA secretary-general, Randhir Singh, said, "The AGM of the IOA was held on December 12, 2009. Given the enormity of the factors involved, it is not understood why it took the IOA nearly four months to inform the ministry of their decision to bid for the Games. The first communication received from the IOA was in the form of an abrupt email dated 28-4-2010 attaching a draft letter of guarantee to be issued by the Host City Government. Despite six reminders seeking specific details on various issues, the IOA has failed to submit the required information.
The department had specifically sought justification on the choice of Delhi for the 2019 Games bid, especially in the light of Delhi having lost out to Doha (2006 Games) and Incheon (South Korea, 2014). "The requirement of sports infrastructure, including games village and city infrastructure as well as source of funding has also not been furnished," the July 8 letter states.
"It is pertinent to mention that the IOA had informed the ministry that it would like to desist from receiving any further financial assistance from the government from 2010-11 onwards. Hence, the IOA needs to clearly state whether the present proposal for bidding for 2019 is at 'no cost to government'."
Repeated attempts to contact Kalmadi failed.