Saturday, 14 March 2015

Indian basketball, split explicit !

Indian basketball that had stood united for long, is a divided house today.

The president of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) RS Gill, a
retired police officer, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Roopam
Sharma, have issued different circulars that have caught the members
by surprise.

In effect, the Annual General Meeting of the BFI has been scheduled to
be held in Bengaluru on March 27 and in Pune on March 28, by the two

While there is no doubt that it would be convenient for everyone concerned
to hold the AGM and a series of meetings in Pune, on the eve of the
Federation Cup to be held there from March 29, it was originally
everyone’s accepted idea to host the meeting in Bengaluru on March 27.

In fact, after a meeting of the leading office bearers of the
federation including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) it was
unanimously agreed to elevate the senior vice president of BFI, K.
Govindaraj as the president and to have CEO Roopam Sharma as the
secretary general.

Quite significantly, it was also decided in the meeting that the post
of the CEO would be abolished as it was basically meant to accommodate
the late Harish Sharma after he had completed two terms as the
secretary general, and was not eligible to continue further in that
post as per the government guidelines.

On the death of Harish Sharma, his wife Roopam Sharma was elected as
the CEO in March 2012, Prem Pal Singh had been serving as the
deputy CEO from the time of Harish. There has been a power struggle for quite some time, as
the financial control apparently rested with the CEO with IMG-Reliance
pumping a few crores of rupees every year for the development of the game.

The attempted amendment of the BFI Constitution to scratch the posts of CEO and deputy CEO has been hanging fire for nearly two years.

Meanwhile, a communication to the members was sent on February 28 about the AGM,
with a promise that the details would follow shortly, as advised by the BFI
president. However, the secretary general of the BFI, Ajay Sud, sent a
circular on March 2, stating that the AGM would be held in Pune on
March 28. Perturbed at having to go against the original understanding and 

directive of the president, the secretary general tendered his resignation the same
day, after sending the circular.

‘’On moral ground and taking responsibility for what has happened, I
extend my resignation . . . ‘’, wrote Ajay Sud, in his communication
to the president, with copies to all the members of the association.

He has since revealed that he had allowed his signature to be used for
the second circular.

''I was pressured by some people to change the venue of meetings to Pune 

for which I gave my consent without the approval of President under 
my scanned signatures on 2nd March 2015. As this action of mine was 
not according to my conscience and moral values. . . 
I resigned from the post of Secretary General'', clarified
Ajay Sud on Thursday.

The president RS Gill, who has served three terms in
office and will be stepping aside after the AGM, took charge of the
situation by sending the circulars to the members and also appointing
a Returning Officer for the election to be held in Bengaluru on March
27, as he derived the powers to do so in the absence of the secretary general, 

as per the Constitution of the BFI.

However, the BFI with its headquarters in Delhi, swung into action and
called the actions of the president as ‘illegal’ and
‘unconstitutional’. It has also sought the intervention of the Union
Sports Ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), stressing
that the president had no authority to act the way he had done. 

‘’Under the given circumstances, the President should have called for
an emergency meeting of the Executive Board to discuss the status and
to take the consent of the General House’’, wrote CEO Roopam Sharma,
emphasising that she had the ‘’sole legal authority to represent BFI
including all correspondence as per the constitution of BFI’’.

Of course, the BFI Constitution is clear on the subject and categorically gives the 
power to the president, to act the way he has done.

With the communication channels between the two power centres
irreparably broken, the members have now been
torn apart, and wonder where they should head for the AGM.

It is understood that the whole unpleasant scenario has been caused
owing to the spontaneous attempt to accommodate a young political
personality as the head of the federation, possibly to channelise the power of the Union
Government !

The character of the Sports Ministry, which keeps referring to the Sports Code 
at the drop of a hat,  will be put to the acid test now.


  1. Yet another faction-fight, this time in the most unlikely federation (or so one thought till now). The ministry already has its hands full. Now it will have to deal with this one also. Which way will the IOA nod go will be crucial, so also that of FIBA.

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  3. Hope that these issues in BFI will be settled amicably.

    Thanks Kamesh for highlighting the issues..

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