The Indian Olympic Association on Sunday requested the Sports Ministry to sanction one-time financial assistance of over Rs 200 crore for various sports governing bodies in the country, saying sponsors won’t come forward until next year making “hand-holding by government” a necessity.
Citing the halt on sports activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, IOA President Narinder Batra, in a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, said if help is not granted, it would be difficult to restart operations smoothly once the lockdown to contain the virus is lifted.
Batra requested the ministry to grant Rs 10 crore for the IOA, Rs 5 crore each for National Sports Federations of Olympic sports, Rs 2.50 crore each for the non-Olympic sports NSFs and Rs 1 crore each for the State Olympic Associations. This adds up to approximately Rs 220 crore.
“Due to the the ongoing pandemic and lockdown, we the sports bodies are unlikely to get any Sponsorship and hence we may find it very difficult to restart our activities effectively,” Batra wrote.
“We do not see sponsors coming forward till/and after Olympics in 2021 to assist us and hence we will require handholding by the Union Government,” he added.
Batra said the assistance will “enable them to tide over the cash crunch being faced by them”.
“The whole world now is facing an Extreme Difficult time due to the Covid -19 Pandemic...It (the pandemic) has affected the business, employment as well as the Sports Activities in their respective countries,” he said.
“All sports competitions training and other related activities have come to a standstill and now in order to restart all these activities, it will require lot of financial support to IOA/NSFs/SOAs,” he added.
Batra, who also heads the International Hockey federation, said the the IOA is ready for an audit of the funds if they are allotted.
“After the pandemic when restrictions are lifted, we then will have to restart and rebuild all over once again. There are many conditions which will now be attached with running of daily affairs and they will require money/cash to implement,” Batra said.
“We will have no objection for providing with the funds utilization certificates, duly certified & verified by C&AG approved auditor/s,” he added.
Interestingly, the Olympic body and its member NSFs had donated close to Rs 9.5 crore to the PM CARES and various Chief Minister’s Relief funds to fight the pandemic.
Sports Ministry officials refused to comment immediately on the demand, stating that they haven’t got anything in writing from the IOA on the matter till now.
(with PTI inputs)