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'Unfortunate that some IOA members want Kalmadi back'

January 24, 2012 16:57 IST

Union sports minister Ajay Maken, despite not wanting to be "too intrusive", says he is uncomfortable with the idea of Suresh Kalmadi returning as president of Indian Olympic Association.

Kalmadi, who was granted bail last week by the Delhi high court after spending nearly nine months in prison for alleged financial irregularities in the conduct of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, has not resigned from the post even though he has stated that he will not be able to carry out his duties.

"We are keeping a close watch on the entire issue. The ministry's stand has always been not to be so intrusive as far as the functioning of IOA is concerned. But, simultaneously, as far as this issue is concerned, the ministry is also uncomfortable with the idea of Mr Suresh Kalmadi returning back again as IOA president, unless he is cleared of all the charges," Maken said, on the sidelines of a conference held at the India International Centre (IIC).

"I think, as far as IOA is concerned, it should not be headed by someone tainted of corruption charges. First of all, he should get cleared of all corruption charges and then only he should think of holding such a post. Otherwise, sports in the spirit which it is taught to be played, we will be defeating that very spirit of it," he added.

Maken termed it as "unfortunate" that some members of the IOA still want Kalmadi back.

"It is unfortunate that the members of the IOA are still backing a person who is yet to be cleared of corruption charges. I would appeal to them in the larger interest of the sport, that they should not support such person unless he is cleared of all the charges," insisted Maken.

The International Olympic Committee, meanwhile, has threatened to take action against the IOA if it does not explain sacked CWG Organising Committee chief Kalmadi's "current and exact situation before the courts of justice".

Maken, however, denied that these issues would effect the athletes in their preparation for the London Olympics.

"I do not think that the problems in the IOA would effect the sportspersons preparing for the Olympics. We would not let Olympics sports get effected by whatever is happening in the IOA," said Maken.

"We have constituted a Steering Committee for the preparations for Olympics who are looking after all the requirements of the Olympics probables.

"All the federations have been told to let the steering committee know about their requirements for Olympics till January 31. And then on February 6, Sports Ministry would conduct a final meeting and will seal every details relating to all sporting disciplines, running up to Olympics."

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