The Union Sports Ministry has suspended the recognition of the School Games Federation of India after failing to get a satisfactory explanation from the organisation over the death of a young football player by drowning and the problems faced by the girl’s hockey team during the 2017 Pacific School Games in Australia.
In a letter signed by Deputy Secretary SPS Tomar, the sports ministry said, “SGFI has failed to provide accurate and satisfactory information/reply to this ministry despite given ample opportunities. The Government is of the view that SGFI has violated the provisions of National Sports Development Code of India 2011. Under the given situation, Government is left with no choice but to suspend School Games Federation of India.”
Nitisha Negi, 15, had drowned at the Glenelg Beach in Adelaide on December 10, 2017 while four of her teammates were rescued by life guards. The hockey team was also stranded and left to fend for themselves during that event.
SGFI had constituted an inquiry in the entire episode and the sports ministry had sought a detailed report from the Federation along with the detailed account of action taken. The School Games body had then informed the government that team’s coach and three managers were held guilty and were banned for life.
However, when the ministry sought a detailed report along with supporting documents following the inquiry, it was found that the committee had not mentioned the names of any coaches/managers responsible for the negligence, the letter said.
Following this, the Ministry had given a show cause notice to SFGI on May 22, 2019 asking why their recognition should not be withdrawn.