Sports ministry to CGOC: Give interest-free loan to weightlifting body

August 24th, 2010 - 10:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) The sports ministry and the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC) seems to be in a deadlock over the issue of bailing out the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) by paying off their outstanding fine worth $375,000 to the international federation.
Sports ministry’s joint secretary Injeti Srinivas in a letter to CGOC chief executive Jarnail Singh directed the organising committee to give interest free loan of $375,000 (Rs.1.75 crore) to IWLF to enable it to meet its obligation towards payment of penalty to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

The IWLF was fined $500,000 by the IWF after six Indian weightlifters tested positive in dope tests last year. The IWLF had paid $125,000 and if the remaining amount of $375,000 is not paid by Aug 31, the IWF will ban India from competing in international competitions including the Commonwealth Games here Oct 3-14.

The IWLF had requested both the government and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to give interest-free loan so that they can pay off the fine and ensure the participation of the weightlifting team in the Commonwealth Games.

Both sports ministry and the IOA have been putting the ball in each other’s court refusing to bail out IWLF.

Srinivas in his letter to CGOC said that the sports minister’s top priority was to safe guard the interest of Indian weightlifters and to ensure their participation in Games.

“The sports ministry directs the organising committee to release Rs.1.75 crore to the IWLF as interest-free loan with a moratorium of one year. The release shall be made under the Joint Marketing Agreement. The repayment of the loan to the IOA may be separately determined by the IOA and the IWLF in due course. Since the deadline for the submission of entries for the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, the loan may be disbursed immediately pending all formalities,” Srinivas wrote in his letter.

Singh said that the CGOC has received the letter from the sports ministry.

“We’ll need a couple of days time to discuss the matter,” he said.

The sports ministry has refused to pay the amount because it is supporting a dope-free sport through its own National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and doesn’t want to be seen in a bad light. The IOA says that it cannot help the IWLF financially as it would be seen as “abetment to doping”.

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