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SAI defies sports ministry guidelines

Going against the sports ministry’s diktat to not include individuals with commercial or personal interests in its committees, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has included former Olympian Malav Shroff in its committee to select the foreign coach for yachting. Saurabh Duggal reports.
By Saurabh Duggal | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2013 11:26 PM IST

Going against the sports ministry’s diktat to not include individuals with commercial or personal interests in its committees, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has included former Olympian Malav Shroff in its committee to select the foreign coach for yachting.

Shroff deals in sailing dinghies that are being used in India.

“Shroff is a part of the committee that will meet on March 5 to select the foreign coach. The circular regarding this signed by JH Shuratiya, assistant director SAI, has already been circulated to the committee members,” a SAI official told HT.

Shroff is also a co-opted member of the Yachting Association of India (YAI) council, which is also against the ministry’s guidelines, which prohibit a person with commercial interests in sports goods to be a member of a federation.

Shroff is a partner in Oceanblue and Aquasail Yachts and Powerboats Private Limited, and his company has also sold yachts to the Navy and YAI.

In a representation to the ministry, former YAI council member, Maj Gen (retd) S Dutta, has raised objections over Shroff’s appointment to the committee formed by SAI.

Objections raised
“The sailing community had raised objections over Shroff’s selection as a co-opted member of the YAI council as he has commercial interests as a dealer of sailing dinghies and it is against the sports ministry guidelines of including anybody with commercial interests in sports goods to be included in any sports federation,” Dutt wrote in his letter to the sports secretary, PK Deb, on February 27.

“This in not a wild allegation as I have personally purchased a Laser Dinghy from his company for my grandson,” he added.

Earlier, the Sailing Performance Development Committee (SPDC), a YAI panel entrusted with the development of the sport in the country,

had alleged in its December 30, 2012 report that former foreign coach Peter Conway promoted the interests of Shroff, who is a broker/intermediary for 29er boats in the country, by promoting the 29er class over other performance classes in the country.

No fair play
Shroff is also a member of the committee that will decide the fate of Conway along with seven others in the fray for the foreign coach’s post.

YAI is backing Conway for a third term while former sailors are against the Englishmen and have met the sports minister and made a representation to him last week.

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