Pullela Gopichand will continue to be the chief national coach of Indian badminton. But how much authority will be vested in him is a grey area.

The proposed amendment to the Badminton Association of India to remove the post (as reported by The Field) was withdrawn after deliberations even before the Executive Committee meeting officially started in Bangalore on Sunday.

Instead, the EC decided to have separate coaches panels for junior and doubles. Chhattisgarh’s Sanjay Mishra is the front runner for the junior national coach post while Gopichand will continue to look after the senior activities till the BAI identifies a place for the doubles centre.

(Update: Sanjay Mishra has been named as the coach for the junior team)

2011 World Championship bronze medallist and Olympian Jwala Gutta remains the front-runner to head the doubles panel.

In the past, Gopichand had opposed such an arrangement. But the former All England champion seems to have come around now and was involved in selecting coaches for the two panels, which will be announced soon.

The conflict of interest debate

However, sources said, it was the conflict of interest debate that became the biggest talking point of the meeting and a decision on the same was deferred till further deliberations.

According to the proposal tabled in the EC, the national and state coaches and technical officials can’t hold any office bearers posts in the state or national body while the selectors cannot be running private academies.

There had been talks that these proposals were targeted at Gopichand, who is also the secretary of Telangana Badminton Association. Even Mishra, whose name is proposed for junior coach post, is secretary of Chattisgarh Badminton Association.

While Gopichand welcomed the move in principle, he opposed the way it was done without any deliberation on its impact at the district and state level and also wanted the house to address the conflict issue of every one involved in the system.

It is a known fact that most national coaches in India have been running their private academies while coaches and technical officials have played the dual role of administrators.

One of the reasons behind the private academy culture is the lack of proper compensation for the national panel of coaches while most technical officials are responsible for the smooth functioning of the state and district bodies.

“It is only in the last few years that the game has become big and people from outside the sport have started coming into the association set up. We definitely need to take some steps towards addressing the issue but after due deliberation,” said a senior EC member, who has donned all the roles in the past.

When asked, BAI secretary Anup Narang admitted that the EC could not come to a definitive conclusion on the issue and it would be further discussed in the Special General Meeting next month.

“We are committed to implement the Sports Code and are working towards it. We had a fruitful discussion today,” he said, without elaborating on the road ahead.

One of the point discussed at details was the age cap for members and office bearers and it remains to be seen how the old guard reacts to it when officially proposed in the Special General Meeting next month.