The Ministry of Sports de-recognizes the Rowing Federation of India for violating the Sports Code

NEW DELHI: Indian Rowing Federation (RFI) was dismissed on Wednesday by the Ministry of Sports 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 & MV Sriram were elected as president & 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 & hence the recognition of the national rowing body stands cancelled.

The ministry also wrote to Indian Olympic Association set up an ad hoc committee to fulfill the functions of the RFI.

"Upon examination of the matter (from the reports of the Returning Officer & 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.

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

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

According to the RFI website, there are 21 state/UT units of which only 18 participated in the electoral process. RFI does not meet the 2/3 state/UT membership criteria as it must have had at least 25 states/UT as its affiliated members.

" MV Sriram had held the post of Secretary General for two terms till January 2016 & 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 cooling off period of four years)."

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

The de-recognition of RFI by the Ministry of Sports comes after the president of IOA Narinder Batra he asked Rajlaxmi to review the decision to ban Dattu Bhokanal for two years for stopping a midway run during the Asian games 2018 , saying it was a severe punishment for a crime for the first time.

Batra had asked RFI to provide the relevant rules of the national federation, as well as those of the international body under which Bhokanal was banned for two years.